One of the main reasons why a congenital heart condition may seriously compromise a child’s health is if the defect goes undetected too long.
At Children’s Hospital Central California, our pediatric Cardiac Testing Center staffed with highly experienced pediatric cardiologists and sonographers strives to identify heart defects as early as possible. The Center uses the latest technology to perform comprehensive noninvasive diagnostic studies on fetuses and children referred with suspected or known, congenital, cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary disease.
“No other medical facility in the Central Valley provides the level of pediatric and fetal echocardiography and electrocardiography services like we do,” said Kelly Thorson, the Center’s lead cardiac sonographer. “Catching the problem early allows our pediatric subspecialists to help the parents and other medical practitioners prepare for and treat the child’s condition, from pre-birth through adulthood.”
Known for its commitment to quality, the Center in 1997 became the first pediatric echocardiography laboratory in the country accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL). Part of The Willson Heart Center at Children’s, it has since applied for and obtained reaccreditation every three years, including most recently receiving reaccreditation through 2014.
“Our reaccreditation demonstrates continued dedication to providing the best care possible for children throughout the region,” said Dr. James Prochazka, medical director of cardiology at Children’s. “Our nine pediatric cardiologists work closely with our nine congenital cardiac sonographers and are integral to our patients’ excellent care.”
Today’s healthcare facilities are held to high levels of accountability – by peers, the public and insurance payers. ICAEL accreditation is a means by which echocardiography laboratories can evaluate and demonstrate the level of patient care they provide. Through the voluntary accreditation process, participating labs assess every aspect of daily operation and its impact on the quality of healthcare provided to patients. While completing the accreditation application, these labs often identify and correct potential problems, revising protocols and validating quality assurance programs.
In addition to Children’s main campus in Madera, the Cardiac Testing Center offers clinics at Children’s Modesto Pediatric Subspecialty Center, owned and operated by Specialty Medical Group in affiliation with Children’s; Children’s Merced Pediatric Subspecialty Center; Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia; and Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. Children’s Cardiac Testing Center also reads exams by request from Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.
“All of our cardiac sonographers are trained to detect congenital and acquired heart disease,” said Dr. John Caton, a cardiologist and medical director of the cardiopulmonary exercise laboratory at Children’s. “They’re fabulous. We have a lot of respect for them.”