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USA Health System
News Release
Mobile, Ala. (August 10, 2006)
Contact: Paul Taylor, (251) 461-1509

USA Center for Women's Health - First Stand Alone Obstetrical Office in United States, Canada and Puerto Rico Accredited by ICAEL

Expectant mothers in the Mobile region are the first in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to have fetal echocardiograms that are performed by an accredited staff in an obstetrician’s office. The University of South Alabama Center for Women’s Health now provides fetal echocardiography testing and is the first obstetric care center in the nation that is not affiliated with pediatric cardiology to receive accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) to perform echocardiography studies on unborn infants.
Dr. Porter, Chair of the USA department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Carson
“Echocardiography is a well established test for adults, pediatric and fetal patients, and the ICAEL accreditation is common at cardiac testing centers, but the use of echocardiography studies to evaluate the unborn child in the obstetrician’s office allows for the needs of the mother as well as the baby to be addressed prior to birth, thus allowing the families to begin life altering decisions much earlier.” explained Dr. Kathy B. Porter, chair of the USA department of obstetrics and gynecology. “We chose to pursue ICAEL accreditation based on our desire to align ourselves with the standards offered by the premier echocardiography laboratories in the nation, and the fact that ICAEL accreditation is the standard of quality for echocardiography laboratories.”
The perinatal laboratory at USA also is accredited by the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) in the areas of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Accreditation benefits the patient by establishing a high standard of care. The accreditation process is part of our overarching goal to consistently provide excellence in care to our patients, their families and the community.”
Using this technology in the obstetric setting allows physicians to make a more definitive diagnosis earlier. The time between diagnosis and delivery allows for consultation with neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists and pediatric surgeons to determine the appropriate delivery location.
According to Porter, congenital heart disease is the most common severe congenital abnormality, occurring in approximately one of every 100 live births. “It is for this reason that early detection is important. The knowledge gained from this test increases the rate of survival of infants born with heart defects,” Porter said. “The information we receive from fetal echocardiography is useful in planning for medical intervention prior to birth and medical or surgical intervention after the baby is born,” explained Porter, who specializes in maternal fetal medicine and cares for women with high-risk pregnancies.
Detailed fetal echocardiography is not routinely used in uncomplicated pregnancies. It is useful in evaluating mothers who are at risk of giving birth to a baby with heart defects.
Fetal Echocardiography is a complex imaging technique that relies on the experience and training of both the physician and sonographer. Their interpretive and technical abilities determine the diagnostic accuracy of an echocardiographic examination. The ICAEL has developed this accreditation program to evaluate the quality of these and other critical elements of an echocardiography laboratory. This speaks to the excellence of the staff to receive this accreditation.
The USA Center for Women’s Health is the private practice of the academic physicians in the USA department of obstetrics and gynecology. The center focuses on management of women’s health at all stages of their lives – from planning healthy pregnancies to maximizing health during the golden years. In addition to providing women with leading-edge care, our doctors also advance the health of women in our community through their research and mentoring of the physicians of tomorrow.
ICAEL was established with the support of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography (SOPE) to provide a peer review mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality echocardiographic diagnostic evaluations by a process of voluntary accreditation. A non-profit organization, the ICAEL is dedicated to ensuring high quality patient care and to promoting health care.
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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: August 11, 2006 12:28 PM