Welcome to the Pediatric Preventive Cardiology Program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. We are a multidisciplinary team of affiliated physicians, psychologists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, physical therapists and occupational therapists who take a comprehensive approach to treating children and adolescents with risk factors for early onset cardiovascular disease. We work with our pediatric patients and their families, using a holistic approach to treatment in a child-friendly environment, with the goal of improving health now to prevent problems later in life.

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Our Approach to Prevention

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents in the United States were overweight.

Obese children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormal lipids and other conditions related to obesity. Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Children and adolescents who are obese are at higher risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems, such as poor self-esteem. They are also likely to be obese as adults, with higher risk for adult problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis.

Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower these risks. The Pediatric Preventive Cardiology Program establishes a safe and supportive environment that encourages healthy behaviors and accommodates each individual family’s readiness to make lifestyle changes.

Our goal is to help children, adolescents and their families learn about healthy diet and exercise behaviors and provide the support they need to practice them daily. We do this through:

  • Individualized medical assessment and treatment for:
    • Hypertension
    • Obesity
    • High cholesterol
  • Diet and nutritional counseling
  • Individualized exercise plans and a monitored exercise program
  • Psychological counseling

Pediatric Cholesterol Facts

Lipid screening in children is important to identify and treat children with abnormal cholesterol levels early in an effort to prevent the harmful effects of disorders associated with high cholesterol. To learn more about cholesterol – what it is and where it comes from – the long term effects of high cholesterol, when children should undergo lipid screening, and the steps to take to ensure children are eating healthy, view an educational webinar featuring Adrienne Kilgore Walton, MD, a pediatric preventive cardiologist affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Criteria for Referral to the Preventive Cardiology Program

Overweight and obesity are defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these elements. Body mass index (BMI) is a diagnostic tool for measuring a person’s body fat. Overweight is defined as having excess body fat beyond the 85th percentile for a given weight and height. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat beyond the 95th percentile for a given weight and height. Both overweight and obesity are the result of caloric imbalance – too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed – and are affected by genetics, behavior and environmental factors.

To be referred to the Pediatric Preventive Cardiology Program, your child must be under 21 years of age and meet any one of the following criteria:

  • LDL higher than 130 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides higher than 250 mg/dL, regardless of body mass index (BMI)
  • Hypertension (blood pressure above the 95th percentile for age or currently being treated for hypertension)
  • BMI above the 95th percentile


  • Have at least two cardiac or metabolic risk factors, including:
    • BMI above the 85th percentile
    • Glucose intolerance or insulin resistance
    • HDL lower than 45 mg/dL
    • LDL higher than 110 mg/dL
    • Total cholesterol greater than 170 mg/dL
    • Triglycerides higher than 150 mg/dL
    • A disease state that increases risk for the development of early atherosclerosis such as Kawasaki disease with a history of aneurysm, solid organ transplant, nephrotic syndrome, diabetes, or an autoimmune disorder (such as lupus)
    • A family history of stroke or heart attack under the age of 55 for women or under the age of 65 for men

Why Choose the Children’s Heart Institute?

At Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, patients with congenital or acquired heart disorders receive hands-on specialized care 24/7 from a team of affiliated physicians and specialty-trained nurses who aim to deliver the best possible outcomes.

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital was named one of the top children's hospitals nationally in Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, Children’s Heart Institute is among the top congenital heart surgery programs in North America for patient care and outcomes, according to the Fall 2019 Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Congenital Heart Surgery Database Report of 118 STS participating programs.

In collaboration with various subspecialties, the affiliated team provides comprehensive care for newborns, children and adolescents, with the ability to transition into adult congenital cardiac care. Team members have the experience and skills necessary to offer innovative treatment methods and specialized services, including, but not limited to:

  • Biventricular repairs and biventricular conversions
  • Congenital heart optimization
  • Full repairs for complex congenital heart defects in newborns
  • Hybrid catheterization and surgical procedures
  • Minimally invasive transcatheter pulmonary valve (TPV) therapy
  • Minimally invasive repairs
  • Treatment for adult congenital heart disease
  • Valve repairs and preservation

With the Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a dedicated Children’s Heart Institute Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, critical heart patients have access to quality, specialized care. By utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, the team at Children’s Heart Institute strives to offer patients with the most complex problems the greatest opportunity for a normal life.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, use the online tool below to help us connect with you. To refer a patient or schedule an appointment, please contact our clinic using the information below.

  • Pediatric Cardiology Clinic
    The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
    6410 Fannin, Suite 370
    Houston, TX 77030
    Phone: (713) 486-6755 (Appointment Line)
  • Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery Clinic
    The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
    6410 Fannin, Suite 370
    Houston, TX 77030
    Phone: (713) 500-5746

To contact Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, please fill out the form below.


Thank you for contacting the Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. We have received your inquiry, and a team member will contact you soon.

If you need more immediate assistance, please call us during business hours at (713) 486-6755.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

The Children’s Heart Institute is a collaboration between the affiliated physicians at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Typically, patients are seen on an outpatient basis at a UT Physicians clinic with all inpatient procedures performed at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

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Proud to be named one of the nation’s best in Cardiology and Heart Surgery; Gastroenterology and GI Surgery; Neonatology; and Neurology and Neurosurgery.

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