Sansum Clinic announced Monday the accreditation of its echocardiography laboratory, making it the first accredited lab in Santa Barbara County.

The accreditation status from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) signifies that the facility has been reviewed by an independent agency, which recognizes the laboratory’s commitment to quality testing for the diagnosis of heart disease.

An echocardiogram, performed at the Sansum Clinic Echocardiography Laboratory, is a safe, noninvasive procedure used to examine the heart and potentially diagnose cardiovascular problems by using high-frequency sound waves to see all four chambers of the heart, the heart valves, the great blood vessels entering and leaving the heart, as well as the sac around the heart.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, costing more than $83.7 billion each year in health-care services, medications and lost work because of disability.

“Sansum Clinic is continually looking for ways to better meet the health-care needs of the people in our community, and this noninvasive test has become one of the standard diagnostic tools in cardiology,” Dr. Jason Boyatt said. “Echocardiograms allow us to detect potential problems early and manage many types of heart disease. The technology in the advancing field of echocardiography continually evolves, and the ICAEL accreditation process tries to ensure that echocardiography labs meet a high standard of quality and proficiency. This accreditation speaks to the quality of the staff at our laboratory and the work they went through to make us become the first accredited echocardiography lab in the Santa Barbara region.”

Sansum Clinic is the largest independent nonprofit health-care organization between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than 150 affiliated physicians, it provides the full spectrum of health-care services, from primary care to more than 30 specialties.

— Elizabeth Musson is a publicist.