Pediatric Cardiology (Heart Center)

The Heart Center at Lurie Children’s provides care for patients with the most complex and serious heart conditions, ranging in age from infants to young adults. As the region’s largest children’s heart center — with 32 pediatric cardiologists and heart surgeons on staff — we care for more patients with cardiac conditions than any other hospital in Illinois. We also provide the most comprehensive heart evaluation and treatment options available.

Smiling, healthy children are the best measure of our experience and accomplishments, but numbers are another good indicator:

  • Each year, our cardiologists see more than 10,000 pediatric patients in outpatient diagnostic visits and more than 300 inpatients
  • Our Cardiac Imaging Program​ annually performs more than 15,000 heart ultrasounds (echocardiograms)
  • 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 15th 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 (arrhythmias) and for helping pioneer the treatment of pediatric congenital heart disease.


Our experienced 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. At the core of our approach to cardiac care are experienced, multidisciplinary teams of pediatric specialists. Our team approach makes it easier for you to see every specialist your child needs under one roof and often in the same visit.

Our multidisciplinary programs include:

As part of our family-centered approach to care​, we have many resources to help you navigate your healthcare experience with us and to make you as comfortable as possible.


Our physicians are conducting a wide range of research studies to foster new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of children with heart disease and to improve their quality of life. Ongoing studies include:

  • A multicenter study of results from a procedure pioneered by surgeons at what is now Lurie Children’s, arrhythmia surgery in conjunction with Fontan conversion surgery for patients with a residual or recurrent congenital heart defect after previous repair.
  • A study of the genetic changes in cardiac stem cells received during heart surgery from different-age children with heart failure to learn more about how and when these important cells regenerate damaged heart tissue. This therapy may be useful for patients whose current treatment option is a heart transplant.
  • A multicenter study of the frequency of and risk factors for sudden cardiac death in children with dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease that often includes heart failure

Partnered with the Feinberg School, the Heart Center also is a powerhouse in training physicians to be tomorrow’s pediatric heart specialists. Each year our Division of Cardiology trains three new pediatric cardiology fellows​ (three-year program) and one critical care/pediatric cardiologist (two-year program). Our Division of Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery offers one of only 11 certified fellowship training programs in the nation for congenital cardiac surgery. Dr. Backer is the Chair of the Thoracic Surgical Directors Association (TSDA) Congenital Program Directors Committee.

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 in:

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

Learn more about how to prepare for your first visit.​​


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.

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