Preventive Cardiology Clinic | Your Visit

What to bring to your child's preventive cardiology visit:

All patients

  • Health insurance information including authorizations or referrals
  • Notes about your family history (including parents, grandparents, sibilings, aunts and uncles)
  • Food Record: You'll be asked to keep track of everything your child eats and drinks, for 3 days in the week or two prior to the visit
  • Activity Record: record the amount your child exercises, for 3 days in the week or two prior to the visit
  • Any questions you may have
  • Paper and pencil to take notes
  • List of your child's prescription medications and dosages
  • Allergies
  • Any recent lab values, including your child's most recent lipid values (Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Triglycerides). REMEMBER: No eating or drinking anything other than water after 8 p.m. the night before labs. Please contact us if you have any concerns about this. 
  • We strongly encourage that all patients' laboratory work be taken and sent to the clinic prior to the visit, for the highest quality discussion with the clinician. 
  • Elevated blood pressure and Hypertension patients:
  • In addition, please bring a copy of any previous blood pressure values (from home or previous doctor appointments)

What happens at the visit?

We will review information about heart health, including diet and exercise, with you individually at your visit. If circumstances allow, we may also offer you a class on healthy lifestyle behaviors. You will see two providers individually, the physician or nurse practitioner and the dietitian. The physician or nurse practitioner provides a full physical evaluation, reviews all preordered laboratories and offers medical analysis. The dietitian reviews your food record and typical diet and recommends, provides a full nutrition assessment heart healthy treatment goals. Further testing may be recommended at the time of your visit. 

What to expect

After a thorough health evaluation, the clinic medical staff will develop a comprehensive plan for your child based on the causes underlying his or her abnormal cholesterol or blood pressure. For some, the plan includes a weight-loss component that incorporates heart healthy eating and exercise. In many children, when weight comes down, so does bad cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition to diet and exercise planning, the clinic offers long-term follow-up and routine monitoring of cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure and other important health indicators.

Successful treatment usually involves a lifetime commitment to healthy eating habits and exercise. In some cases, cholesterol-lowering medications or other medications for secondary illnesses may be incorporated. 

The best approach is to make family-wide changes in eating and exercise. This makes change easier for your child; and often, multiple members of the family can benefit from making healthy changes, too. Utilizing different eating and activity plans for each family member can leave some children feeling singled out or isolated, making already difficult lifestyle changes even more so.

Changing the lifestyle of your family can be challenging. Making important lifestyle changes can reduce your child's risk for atherosclerosis while increasing stamina and helping him or her feel healthier and leaner. Rest assured that although there are no magic bullets, the clinicians, nurses and nutritionists at Children’s Hospital Boston have lots of experience helping thousands of parents facing the same challenges, and will offer strategies that have helped many other children and teens stick with the program.