Pediatric Cardiology (Heart Center)

The Heart Center at Lurie Children’s provides the highest quality care for patients with the most complex and serious heart conditions. As the region’s largest children’s heart center, we care for more patients with cardiac conditions than any other hospital in Illinois. We use the most comprehensive heart evaluations and treatments to deliver high quality care from admission, to discharge, to follow-up. We provide cardiac care to pregnant mothers, infants, children and young adults, and our services range from cardiac disease prevention to heart transplantation.

Our experts have a wide range of experience, treating thousands of patients with heart complications annually.

  • Each year, our cardiologists see more than 10,000 pediatric patients in outpatient diagnostic visits and more than 300 inpatients.
  • Our interventional cardiologists perform more than 550 cardiac catheterization procedures, including implanting a pulmonary valve, which is a less invasive procedure than surgical valve replacement.
  • On average, our heart surgeons perform 450 heart surgeries each year, with one of the best survival rates for congenital heart surgery among the nation’s 40 largest and most advanced children’s hospitals — even for heart transplants.

Lurie Children’s is ranked 14th in the nation for child cardiology and heart surgery by U.S.News & World Report.

Our Heart Center offers many specialized programs, from fetal cardiology to adult congenital heart disease. We are nationally and internationally renowned for the diagnosis and treatment of irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia) and for helping pioneer the treatment of pediatric congenital heart disease through procedures like the Fontan conversion.

The Heart Center is also home to the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit, which was built to ensure the continuity of care from admit to discharge, and is staffed by a team of specialists that meet the unique needs of its patients.


Our pediatric heart team includes:

The center is led by Barbara J. Deal, MD, Division Head of Cardiology, and Carl L. Backer, MD, Division Head of Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Deal is the Getz Professor of Cardiology at Lurie Children’s and a Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a board-certified pediatric cardiologist with more than 25 years of experience in the field.

Dr. Backer is a board-certified congenital heart surgeon and thoracic surgeon with 25 years of experience in heart surgery. He is Surgical Director of the Heart Failure & Transplantation Program and the A.C. Buehler Professor of Surgery at Lurie Children’s as well as a Professor of Surgery at the Feinberg School. Dr. Backer is one of the world’s experts on treating vascular rings.


Our goal is to provide your child and family with the highest quality heart care. Our experienced, multidisciplinary teams of pediatric specialists make it easier for patients to see every specialist they may need under one roof and often in the same visit.

Our multidisciplinary programs include:


Our physician-scientists are pioneering new cures, preventions and treatments for complex cardiac conditions through clinical and translational research. The Center for Cardiovascular Innovation focuses on interventions to improve outcomes and quality of life for children with high-risk complex heart disease.

Our scientific discovery efforts are supported by the Heart Center Research Core, a multi-disciplinary team to support significant and innovative clinical, translational and basic research.

We’re also conducting ongoing studies that concern:

  • The underlying causes of heart failure
  • Using patients’ own cells to correct life threatening conditions
  • Novel therapies to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes and treat neurodevelopmental issues in congenital heart disease survivors
  • Transitional care from adolescence to adulthood for high-risk cardiovascular patients
  • Novel aortic valve and aorta imaging
  • Pioneering new therapies for patients with Marfan syndrome
Learn more about our research studies.

Conditions We Treat

Our pediatric cardiologists evaluate and treat both congenital and acquired heart diseases. Learn more about the wide range of conditions we treat.

Make an Appointment

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®). You can also request an appointment online

Our specialists see patients at the main hospital and our outpatient centers.

Fetal and neonatal cardiologists also see patients at Prentice Women’s Hospital.


Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please e-mail Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at or call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today.

​A Brighter Future for Kaysen

Follow the remarkable journey of an infant whose heart stopped beating shortly after she was born. Shortly thereafter, she underwent a heart transplant. Watch the video below to see how the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit team saved this newborn baby's life, not once, but twice.

​Transitioning to Home Care

Almost Home Kids (AHK), now part of the Lurie Children’s family,  cares for children with complicated health needs by providing family training, respite care and short-term transitional care in a home-like setting. AHK is staffed with medical professionals and volunteers to make sure every child and their families are prepared for the return home. The Division of Cardiology works closely with Almost Home Kids to make the care transition process as easy as possible.

Learn more about AHK.