Preventive Cardiology Program

The Preventive Cardiology Program is committed to improving the health of children at risk for heart disease. We care for children who have cardiac risk factors for heart and vascular disease which may include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and a family history of heart attacks and strokes. 

Patients cared for in this clinic have the following conditions: 

Learn more about the conditions we treat

Make an Appointment

For New Patients: You can make an appointment with the Preventive Cardiology team through a pediatrician referral, or by calling 312.227.4100

  • If you are a new patient to us but you have had cardiac testing in the past, please send these records to fax: 312.227.9640 with attention to Preventive Cardiology. 

For Returning Patients: To schedule a follow-up visit, please contact our program scheduler 312.227.4632 to schedule. 

Second Opinions

For families or providers seeking a second opinion, we offer a Priority Second Opinion Clinic.

Request a Second Opinion

Conditions We Treat

Elevated cholesterol 

Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells. Your body, especially the liver, makes all the cholesterol it needs. The cholesterol circulates through the blood. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as meat, eggs or full fat dairy products. Your liver produces more cholesterol when you eat a diet high in saturated and trans-fats. Too much cholesterol can form plaque between layers of artery walls, making it harder for your heart to circulate blood, which can lead to heart disease, strokes or early heart attacks.  

High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. Research shows that the buildup of fatty plaque in arteries begins in childhood and progresses slowly into adulthood. As your blood cholesterol rises, so does the risk of heart disease. Your cholesterol levels can be affected by your age, gender, family health history and diet. 

There are many types of cholesterol. There are two types generally discussed. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol, and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), which is the “bad” cholesterol.  

LDL Cholesterol

This type of cholesterol is often called “the bad” cholesterol. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in your blood, it can contribute to the formation of plaque buildup in the arteries. 

The arteries can become narrow and even clog, causing a reduction in blood flow. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. 

HDL Cholesterol

This type of cholesterol is often called “the good” cholesterol. It helps remove the “bad” LDL cholesterol from arteries and helps protect you from heart attack and stroke. 


Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your blood. High levels of triglycerides are often found in children and adolescents with other risk factors such as high LDL and low HDL.

High Blood Pressure  

High blood pressure in children and adolescents is now commonly observed. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss and memory loss. 


Obesity occurs when a child is significantly over the ideal weight for height. Obesity in children is determined by using a BMI percentile (measure of weight in relation to height). Obesity can increase risk factors for heart disease, elevated cholesterol, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and orthopedic problems. 

Your Visit

At your appointment, our team will develop a comprehensive plan for your child based on the following information.

We may:

  • Measure your child’s height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI) and other vital signs 
  • Review current medications your child is taking 
  • Complete a detailed family history of medical conditions 
  • Complete a nutritional assessment 
  • Review lifestyle habits and typical diet 
  • ECG, Echocardiogram, labs and exercise stress testing may be performed 
  • Order and review lab results
  • Perform a physical evaluation and offer medical analysis 
  • Review heart healthy diet, lifestyle adjustments and possibly medications that will improve your child’s health. We will use those recommendations to set goals for you and your child. 
  • Refer your child for an assessment in the Preventive Cardiology Exercise Lab

Exercise Physiology Assessment

Patients will have an evaluation with an experienced and certified clinical exercise physiologist. The exercise physiologist will provide exercise consultation and intervention to promote healthy lifestyle changes. This will reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, as well as improve overall quality of life, social and emotional health.

The assessment will include the following interventions:

  • Baseline and follow up functional capacity step test to evaluate overall physical capability, symptoms, and progression through individualized exercise prescription
  • Biometric measurements to evaluate progress and need for further intervention/modification to current plan 
  • Discuss the benefits of exercise, physical activity recommendations, proper exercise form, safety tips, and goal setting
  • Create an individualized exercise prescription 
  • Routine follow-up visits to discuss exercise recommendations and tips with exercise prescription revision

For more information about the health benefits of physical activity for children, download this resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heart Center Family Resource Guide

To help prepare families for their care with Lurie Children's Heart Center, we have compiled a list of resources about treatment and recovery. Learn how to get ready for an inpatient stay or outpatient visit, and read about our support services for patients and families.

Resources & Support

Watch these videos from our experts:

Play video


The following websites offer more information on healthy eating and living. 

The following organizations offer good programming to help keep kids active:

Resources for Download

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