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St. Michael’s echocardiology lab awarded international seal of approval

Toronto, August 29, 2011

By Leslie Shepherd

The Echocardiography and Vascular Laboratory at St. Michael’s Hospital has been recognized for its commitment to quality patient care and testing for heart and vascular disease.

The department has been accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL).

ICAEL accreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can rely on as an indication that medical experts in the field of echocardiography have conducted a comprehensive review all aspects of the lab’s daily operations and technical components.

Hospitals voluntarily apply for ICAEL accreditation. The ICAEL awards accreditation only to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care, in compliance with North American standards.

Heart disease or stroke kills one Canadian every seven minutes, making them two of the three leading causes of death in this country. Heart disease and stroke cost the Canadian economy more than $22.2 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity.

Echocardiograms are a useful and commonly used tool in the detection and management of many types of heart diease. An echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create a picture of the heart – the shape, texture and movement of the valves as well as the size of the heart chambers and how well they are working.

“St. Michael's Echocardiography Lab is one of the few heart ultrasound diagnostic labs in Canada that are accredited by an international body,” said Dr. Chi-Ming Chow, director of the hospital’s Echocardiography and Vascular Lab. “We aim to provide the best in class heart and vascular ultrasound diagnostic for both our inpatients and outpatients."

ICAEL accreditation is valid for three years, after which time the facility must undergo a repeat evaluation.