A congenital heart disease center run by UCLA has just become the first nationally accredited center of its kind in Los Angeles, and the 11th in the U.S.

The Ahmanson/UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center in Westwood earned the distinction from the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), a national support agency.

“Accreditation is an instrumental step in setting thresholds for delivering the highest quality care to this unique group of patients,” Dr. Jamil A. Aboulhosn, director of the center at UCLA Health, said in a statement.

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the U.S., with one in 100 births, according to the ACHA. There are a growing number of these children who now reach adulthood, with 1.4 million in the U.S. with a range of congenital heart defects.

The UCLA center treats a variety of congenital heart conditions, including Marfan and Elsenmenger syndromes. The first and largest facility of its kind in the U.S. was founded in 1980 by the late Professor Joseph K. Perloff, who spearheaded the medical subspecialty of congenital heart disease in adults.

The accreditation was based on rigorous criteria for medical services and personnel requirements.

“There are now more adults than children in the U.S. with CHD,” said Mark Roeder, president and chief executive of the Adult Congenital Heart Association. “Accreditation will elevate the standard of care and have a positive impact on the futures of those living with the disease.”

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.