(WIBW) - An echocardiogram can lay the groundwork for spotting a potential problem with your heart, so you'll want to make sure it's done right.
Topeka's Stormont-Vail Echocardiology Labs recently earned accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Labs.
Valeri Bido, RDCS, is the technical director for the lab. She says, to earn accreditation, the labs had to prove their studies met the quality criteria set by the ICAEL. Every doctor must be represented and every sonographer in the information that was presented for review.
Vera Thompson, RDCS, manager of Stormont-Vail's Diagnostic Imaging, says cardiologist rely on accurate ECHOs to give them a lot of information. She explains that an ECHO uses sound waves to look at the muscle of the heart as it's expanding and contracting. It also lets doctors look at the valves to see if they're opening and closing properly.
Plus, modern-day ECHOs use doppler, much like what weather forecasters use, to show direction and volume of blood flow.
The ECHO is often the first test used to check for a heart problem because it does so much with so little risk. Thompson says it's all done on the surface of the body and is pain free. It doesn't require any dyes like a CT scan might. Plus, there's no radiation exposure like in a CT.
The accreditation must be re-submitted every three years.