If your child has a medical condition that puts them at high risk of developing heart problems — now or in the future — they may be referred to the Cardiovascular Risk Assessment Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The Cardiovascular Risk Assessment team provides health evaluations, comprehensive treatment plans and long-term monitoring for young patients. The clinic is part of CHOP's Preventive Cardiovascular Program.
Who we treat
The Cardiovascular Risk Assessment Clinic evaluates children, teens and young adults ages 10-21 years with a variety of medical conditions and risk factors that could lead to adult onset cardiovascular disease such as heart attack or stroke. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:
Services we offer
Our clinic team takes a collaborative approach to care of young patients. We work with you, your child, and your child's referring physician to determine your child's cardiovascular risk and then develop a comprehensive and personalized plan to address your child's specific risk factors.
On your child's first clinic visit, you and your child will meet with a cardiologist, nurse practitioner, registered dietitian, and exercise physiologist. After reviewing your child's medical records and family history, tests may be ordered so clinicians can gain a fuller understanding of your child's health.
These tests may include:
- An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), if your child has not had one or a prior ECG was abnormal
- An echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), to assess heart health if your child has not had one in the past 6-12 months
- A Doppler ultrasound assessment of the aorta (pulse wave velocity, PWV) and an ultrasound measurement of the wall of the carotid arteries (carotid intima-media thickness, cIMT) to assess the health of the blood vessels every 3-5 years
- An ultrasound of the aorta (pulse wave velocity, or (PWV)) and the carotid arteries (carotid intima-media thickness, or cIMT), performed every three to five years or more frequently if concerns develop
- An exercise stress test for children who are athletes, have uncontrolled blood pressure, or experience cardiac symptoms with exercise
- Prior to the visit, blood work, such as fasting lipid panel and blood sugar, may be recommended
How we can help your child
Most children referred to the Cardiovascular Risk Assessment Clinic will be seen by the clinic team every three to five years. The clinic does not replace your child's primary physician or specialists, but instead works in conjunction with them to look at your child's health from a longer-range point of view.
Recommendations by the clinic team may include:
- Healthy lifestyle changes
- Medication to manage cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Regular monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, body mass index, and other health indicators
If your child currently has high blood pressure, abnormal lipid values, or obesity, they may be referred to other clinics within CHOP's Preventive Cardiovascular Program umbrella. Your child's healthcare team will make recommendations for additional assessments as needed.