Brenda Mendizabal, MD, MS

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Administrative Assistant: Robyn Majsak

Brenda Mendizabal, MD is a pediatric preventive cardiologist who joined the Heart Institute in December 2017 as an associate professor of medicine. Mendizabal obtained her medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. She completed her residency at Children’s National Medical Center – George Washington University. She went on to complete a cardiology fellowship at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and most recently completed her preventive cardiology fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Mendizabal trained as a preventive cardiologist under an American Heart Association grant that is studying how hypertension (HTN) is diagnosed in pediatric patients and at what levels or ranges patients acquire end organ damage as a result.

The multicenter, multi-project study (SHIP AHOY – Study of High blood pressure in Pediatrics, Adult Hypertension Onset in Youth) is examining hypertension through the use of echocardiograms, pulse wave velocity, urinalysis, and blood-based biomarkers to see at what points in time and at what levels end organ damage manifests in the kidneys, heart, blood vessels, brain, and other organs. As it currently stands, HTN is defined and treated based on the 95th percentile of blood pressure (BP) from the normal population distribution. However, we don’t know if the 95th percentile is the most accurate definition of HTN. The subspecialty of pediatric preventive cardiology is a rare discipline, with only one fellowship training program in the entire country. However, the incidence of adult cardiovascular diseases manifesting in childhood is a growing problem. Numerous factors over the last several decades in the United States have contributed to the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in childhood. The obesity epidemic is front and center, as are overall diet trends and eating habits, diabetes, increasing rates of sedentary behaviors, and other lifestyle factors.

Mendizabal’s main interests include pediatric dyslipidemias, pediatric hypertension, as well as caring for children at risk for the development of early cardiovascular disease. In collaboration with colleagues from endocrinology, nephrology, adult lipidology, weight management, and the Heart Institute itself, she has been able to organize and coalesce the clinical and research efforts for preventive cardiology.

Mendizabal is currently working with Silva Arslanian, MD, professor of pediatrics, as co-investigator on the Dyslipidemia of Obesity Intervention in Teens trial (DOIT). The purpose of this multi-center study is to determine if a medicine used to lower cholesterol, pitavastatin, can improve artery health in adolescents and teens with combined dyslipidemia of obesity (CDO). CDO is a medical condition in which overweight/obese people have high blood lipids (cholesterol and fats). When people have CDO for many years, the lipids may build up in the arteries causing them to become thick, narrow, and stiff. This buildup of lipids can lead to serious health problems including heart attack, stroke, or even death. The study is currently in the recruitment phase.

Professional and Scientific Society Memberships

  • National Lipid Association PeDAL (Pediatric Atherosclerosis Prevention and Lipidology), 2012-Present
  • American Society of Preventive Cardiology, 2012-Present
  • American Heart Association CVDY AHOY (Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Obesity in the Young), 2018-Present  

Education & Training

  • BA, Pre-Professional Studies, Psychology, Spanish, University of Notre Dame, 2004
  • MS, Biomedical Sciences, Barry University, 2005
  • MD, Medicine, University of Illinois, 2009
  • MS, Clinical and Translational Research, 2017
  • Residency in General Pediatrics, Children's National Medical Center, 2009-2012
  • Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, 2012-2015
  • Advanced Fellowship in Pediatric Preventative Cardiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 2015-2017
  • Research Fellowship in SFRN Hypertension, American Heart Association Strategically Focused Research Network, 2015-2017

Selected Publications

Mendizábal B, Urbina EM. "Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Youth: Relation to Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome." The Journal of Pediatrics. 190 (Supplement C): 14-20. 2017.

Mendizábal B, Urbina EM, Becker R, Daniels SR, Falkner BE, Hamdani G, Hanevold CD, Hooper SR, Ingelfinger JR, Lande M, Martin LJ, Meyers K, Mitsnefes M, Rosner B, Samuels JA, Flynn JT. “SHIP-AHOY (Study of High Blood Pressure in Pediatrics: Adult Hypertension Onset in Youth). Rational, Design and Methods”. Hypertension. 2018 Sep;72(3):625-631.

Muntner P, Becker RC, Calhoun D, Chen D, Cowley AW Jr, Flynn JT, Grobe JL, Kidambi S, Kotchen TA, Lackland DT, Leslie KK, Li Y, Liang M, Lloyd A, Mattson DL, Mendizábal B, Mitsnefes M, Nair A, Pierce GL, Pollock JS, Safford MM, Santillan MK, Sigmund CD, Thomas SJ, Urbina EM. “Introduction to the American Heart Association's Hypertension Strategically Focused Research Network.” Hypertension. 2016 Apr;67(4):674-80.

Mendizábal B, Khoury PR, Woo JG, Urbina EM.  “Racial Differences in the Influence of Risk Factors in Childhood on Left Ventricular Mass in Young Adulthood”. Journal of Pediatrics. 2019. Accepted in September 2019.

Full Publication List via NIH PubMed »

Academic and Research Interests

  • Pediatric Dyslipidemia
  • Pediatric Hypertension
  • Cardiac changes associated with acute and chronic pediatric hypertension
  • Exercise-induced hypertension in the pediatric population