The Lown Cardiovascular Group - Sports Cardiology

Given our passion for prevention and exercise promotion, sports cardiology is a natural extension of the Lown Group's comprehensive approach to cardiovascular wellness. Our expertise and state-of-the-art equipment allows us to partner with athletes and coaches throughout Greater Boston and New England to encourage safe participation and optimize performance.

​Each member of our team has both personal and professional expertise in the unique physical and psychological demands of athletes at all levels. Our staff includes Harvard-trained, Board-certified Cardiologists who are Fellows of the American College of Cardiology and members of the ACC Sports and Exercise Section, Master’s level Exercise Physiologists, with certifications in Strength and Conditioning, and a Registered Dietician with extensive experience in Sports Nutrition. 


Brian Bilchik, MD is the Director of our Sports Cardiology program.

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Sports Cardiology

Who is this program for?

  • Recreational athletes looking to increase fitness safely and effectively
  • Amateur endurance athletes seeking to optimize performance through monitoring of VO2 max
  • High school and college student athletes needing screening or clearance to return to play
  • Adult athletes of all ages with existing or suspected heart disease, seeking to safely participate in sports
  • Older or untrained individuals, or those with unexplained symptoms

Every athlete is unique, but if you are experiencing any of the following a visit may be necessary: ​

  • Palpitations or irregular heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Chest discomfort
  • Change in athletic peformance level

What to Expect

During your visit, you will undergo an exercise stress test with our experienced exercise physiologists on either the treadmill, stationary bicycle, or Concept II rowing ergometer. We encourage our patients to prepare to execute the exercise protocol to full exertion while under the care and expertise of our team. After exercising, one of our physicians will interpret the results of your test. You will be given a comprehensive report of exercise data, which will help you tailor and enhance your training in the future to maintain a healthy, safe, and effective athletic career.

Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing

Cardiopulmonary Performance Testing (VO2 Max)

The primary purpose of a cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is to carefully assess how your lungs, heart, blood vessels and muscles perform during an exercise test. A CPET provides important information about overall health status, performance level and prognosis for specific diseases. During a CPET measurements will be made of the amount of oxygen your body can use and this is achieved by you wearing a mouthpiece that collects breath-by-breath measurements of inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide. A baseline pulmonary function test (spirometry) is performed on every athlete prior to starting exercise. Analyzing simultaneous heart, lung, blood vessel and muscle function data while exercising allows us to determine the relative contribution of the different organ systems that may be limiting exercise capacity.

CPET may be useful in a range of different conditions, including but not limited to patients with new or worsening unexplained shortness of breath, heart failure, heart vs. lung disease. CPET may also be used for evaluation of athletic performance and help with determining the anaerobic threshold and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max).

The test typically takes about 60 minutes and can be done on a treadmill, rowing ergometer or bike.

Please follow the same instructions as for the exercise tolerance test.

Heart Screening

With the help of our expert Exercise Physiologists and Echocardiogram Technologists, we are able to monitor heart activity at rest and during exercise. EKG monitoring allows us to analyze the electrical activty of your heart to ensure that it is fully functional and healthy. Using an Echocardiogram, our technologists use ultrasound imaging to look at the different chambers and vessels of the heart. Using these two mediums together, our cardiologists are able to look at the heart's structure and function and effectively diagnose and screen patients.

Second Opinions

We offer patients a thoughtful, balanced, and unhurried approach to second opinions. Our physicians are renowned for their willingness to explore less aggressive strategies for managing coronary artery blockages, valve disease, rhythm problems, and other cardiac issues. We understand that, despite recent technological advances, sometimes a non-invasive approach is the best option.

We will review records from your other physicians, listen to your personal preferences, and work together with you to formulate a treatment plan. We welcome involvement from your family and those close to you to help make these difficult decisions.

In situations where a surgical or invasive procedure turns out to be the right approach for you after all, we can recommend a trusted colleague at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and we will continue to care for you at the time of your procedure.

Physical Evaluation Clearance

We offer the option of a Stress Test with EKG monitoring and Echocardiogram imaging for athletes and individuals who are in need of a physical evaluation clearance. Our physicians use the results of the two tests together to diagnose any conditions or symptoms that would potentially prevent an athlete from participation in sports or exertion. Using our comprehensive protocol, we are able to help our patients feel better and get back in action as quickly and safely as possible.

For College Athletes

Since our founding in 1974, the Lown Group has welcomed student referrals from area universities. Some common symptoms we see among our student referrals include: fainting, dizziness, palpitations, and chest discomfort. We focus not only on cardiac symptoms, but also the sense of anxiety that these symptoms can provoke by exploring potential psychosocial triggers that can occur in the college setting. Our doctors recognize the challenges, both physical and emotional, that many students face when living away from home for the first time, apart from their families, without their “safety net."

In addition, students competing in sports present a number of special challenges to the student health clinic, and we can help:

  • When / how to screen an athlete for heart disease? We perform comprehensive physical exams, ECGs, and echocardiograms, all on-site in our fully-accredited labs.

  • How to fuel an athlete? Ask Beth, our nutritionist! She focuses on the fun and positive aspects of healthy eating. She offers comprehensive nutrition services to students facing undesired weight gain, student athletes, and students just trying to eat well in the dormitory / cafeteria environment.

  • Symptoms that are brought on by strenuous activity may be a sign of underlying heart problems – or maybe something more benign – we can help determine which. Our board-certified Cardiologists all hold faculty positions at Harvard Medical School. In the rare situation that an invasive procedure or hospital admission is needed, our close affiliation with Brigham and Women’s Hospital assures the best care possible.

Learn more about the Lown Group 
Lown Group newsletter From the Heart
Lown Group Sports Cardiology
Patient Resources

The American Heart Association’s Heart360® is an easy-to-use tool which helps you understand and track the factors that affect your heart health – including blood pressure, physical activity, cholesterol, glucose, weight and medications.

Heart360, AHA
American College of Cardiology
American College of Sports Medicine

The ACSM is the leading source of information in the growing field of sports medicine. Membership includes exercise physiologists, physicians, students, and more. 

EIM, Exercise Is Medicine

The ACC is a source of cardiac information from the top cardiology phsyicians across the country. Their website holds daily updates of the most recent changes and findings in the field of cardiology. 

(EIM) is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients and referring their patients to EIM Credentialed Exercise Programs and Exercise Professionals.

Find Us

Lown Cardiovascular Group
830 Boylston Street, Suite 205
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Our office is easily accessible by public transportation or car, with free on-site parking and no facility fees.

Reach Us

Front Desk: 617-732-1318
Appointments: 617-732-1318
Billing: 617-732-1318

Email: info@lowngroup.org

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Office Hours

Monday-Friday (except holidays)

8:00 AM to 4:30 PM