Awards | Heart and Vascular | Press Releases

Greenville, N.C. – ECU Health Medical Center Echocardiography Laboratory (Echo lab) earned a 20 Year Bronze Accreditation Milestone for its reaccreditation and pediatric echocardiography reaccreditation by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC). The Echo lab has also been granted a three-year term of accreditation by the IAC in Echocardiography in the areas of adult stress, adult and pediatric transthoracic and adult transesophageal.

Accreditation by the IAC means that ECU Health Medical Center Echo lab has undergone an intensive application and review process and is found to be in compliance with published standards, thus demonstrating a commitment to quality patient care. Comprised of a detailed self-evaluation followed by a thorough review by a panel of medical experts, the IAC accreditation process enables both the critical operational and technical components of the applicant facility to be assessed, including representative case studies and their corresponding final reports.

ECU Health Medical Center Echocardiography Laboratory team is shown working in a patient setting.

“ECU Health takes great pride in bringing state of the art, high quality care that’s close to home for eastern North Carolina.” said Dr. Dave Harlow, senior vice president of Allied Health at ECU Health.  “ECU Health’s partnership with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University allows us to provide world class training and technologies for clinicians and medical students alike which ultimately improves patient outcomes. These efforts are tailored to our mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina, and I am proud of the teams that earned this reaccreditation and the effort it represents.”

A noninvasive ultrasound study called an echocardiogram is commonly used to evaluate heart structure and function and can detect heart disease or signs of serious conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. On average, one American dies every 34 seconds of cardiovascular disease. Each year nearly 40,000 infants in the United States are born with a congenital heart defect, making it the most common type of birth defect. Congenital heart defects are also the most critical, causing more deaths during the first year of life than any other birth defect.

There are many factors that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on echocardiography including the training and experience of the sonographer performing the procedure, the type of equipment used and the quality assessment metrics each facility is required to measure. IAC accreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can rely on as an indicator of consistent quality care and a commitment to continuous improvement.

“Eastern North Carolina sees higher rates of chronic diseases including hypertension, diabetes and stroke, all leading to higher rates heart disease,” said ECU Health Medical Center Echo lab medical director Dr. Raj Nekkanti, who also serves as a professor in the Division of Cardiology and Program Director of the Cardiology Fellowship Program at Brody. “Having a high-quality, consistent Echo lab helps ensure accurate diagnoses and is instrumental in creating treatment plans for patients. Early diagnosis of heart disease can drastically improve outcomes for patients, highlighting the necessity of these types of services. We are proud to offer this high-quality care to a region that depends on it.”