Cardiologist aims to prevent and treat acquired heart disease in children

Amy E. DiPietro, M.D., is joining Norton Children’s Heart Institute, as part of an expanded effort to arrest and prevent acquired heart disease in children.

Preventive cardiologist Amy E. DiPietro, M.D., is joining Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, as part of an expanded effort to arrest and prevent acquired heart disease in children.

Dr. DiPietro, who also specializes in caring for children with congenital heart defects, heart failure and heart transplants, will work alongside preventive cardiologist Jyothi M. Matta, M.D., in a multidisciplinary clinic for metabolic syndrome.

The clinic will offer comprehensive care for children with obesity, dyslipidemia and hypertension, with cardiologists, nephrologists, endocrinologists and a general pediatrician dedicated to identifying and addressing cardiovascular risk factors in children.

“In our fast-paced world we have forgotten what heathy is, and teaching families starting from a young age what good food is, how to exercise — that you should exercise — is vital,” Dr. DiPietro said. “The importance of being healthy is something we’re just not taught anymore.”

Children with a high cholesterol panel or three consecutive elevated blood pressure readings should be referred to a cardiologist for preventive cardiology, according to Dr. DiPietro.

Dr. DiPietro comes to Norton Children’s Heart Institute from Stanford Children’s Health in Northern California. Her clinical responsibilities included a cardiac consulting service at California Pacific Medical Center, one of the largest private, not-for-profit, academic medical centers in California.

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Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Dr. DiPietro attended medical school at the University of Toledo before completing a residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Pennsylvania State University in State College. She completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship at Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and a second fellowship in pediatric heart failure and transplant cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Dr. DiPietro’s practice at Norton Children’s Heart Institute also will include inpatient consults, evaluating echocardiograms and stress tests.

“One of the things I love about being a pediatric cardiologist is that I get to follow my patients as they grow and become adults. I get to know the whole family in the process and am part of their support network. You have one heart and that’s it,” Dr. DiPietro said.

When there’s an issue with a child’s heart, it can be very traumatic for the family.

“I make sure that families are equipped with knowledge of how to treat their child’s condition and help alleviate their fears. I try to explain things in a way that families can understand, because what’s most important — that everyone understands what is happening and is part of the team,” Dr. DiPietro said.

Dr. DiPietro grew up surrounded by elementary school educators and children, and said she always expected to be working with children, just like the rest of her family. As an intern, she did a rotation in pediatric cardiology and loved it.

“I never looked back after that. I enjoy their company,” she said. “It makes coming to work easy when you know you’re going to be taking care of kids. They’re a lot of fun to work with.”

Coming to Norton Children’s from Stanford brings Dr. DiPietro and her husband closer to their Ohio roots. In her spare time, Dr. DiPietro is an avid artist. She likes to paint, sculpt, and draw. Dr. DiPietro is also an accomplished cook.

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