JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — Over 35,000 infants in the U.S. are born with congenital heart defects, and Conemaugh Physicians Group – OB/GYN earned a three-year term of accreditation for its fetal echocardiogram.

The award was given by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) in Echocardiography in the area of fetal medicine, according to a press release from Conemaugh Health System.

An echocardiogram is a noninvasive ultrasound study used to evaluate heart structure and function.

It’s reported that congenital heart defects are the most common and critical type of birth defect, causing more deaths during the first year of life than any other birth defect.

However, due to improvements in diagnosis and treatment, almost all affected children will grow and thrive into adulthood, the release said.

“Fetal echocardiograms allow us to identify congenital heart defects from the earliest stages of development, ensuring the best plan of treatment for the baby,” Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist Adib Khouzami, MD, said.

IAC indicates that Conemaugh Physicians Group – OB/GYN has undergone an intensive application and review process, and the results found it to be in good standing with published standards.

Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter