Priority Second Opinion Program

When children are diagnosed with serious heart conditions, many parents seek out second opinions from highly respected health professionals, and most physicians encourage second and even third opinions, especially when the proposed treatment involves major heart surgery.

The Priority Second Opinion Program gives parents the second or third opinion they’re looking for in one manageable visit. It is a multidisciplinary program that brings together the opinions of a diverse team of healthcare specialists, giving your child the most holistic evaluation possible. Our specialists include:

This program is designed for two kinds of patients:

  • Individuals with existing diagnosed heart defects who are looking for the best possible management and surgical treatment of their condition
  • Infants still in utero who have been diagnosed with congenital heart defects whose parents are seeking the best possible care and surgical treatment for the infant

The Lurie Children’s Difference

The Heart Center at Lurie Children’s is currently ranked 14 nationally in U.S. News & World Report, and Lurie Children’s is ranked 11 nationally among children’s hospitals. We offer depth of expertise in every aspect of care for patients with congenital heart disease. We have a large cardiac imaging program that facilitates our ability to provide a comprehensive opinion for your child or fetus’s cardiac problem.

Our inpatients are cared for in the state-of-the-art Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit, which is staffed 24/7 by attending cardiac intensivists. Our surgical outcomes for repair of congenital heart disease are among the very best in the nation, as reported by the Society of Thoracic Surgeon’s database.

In addition to our multispecialty and comprehensive care plans, we strive to make treatment easy on your family’s lifestyle. To that end, the benefits of the weekly program include:

  • You will meet and talk with all the healthcare providers in one place during one visit.
  • A visit will be scheduled typically within 1-2 weeks of initial contact.
  • You will be introduced to the hospital and to the medical and nursing team.

For Children with Existing Diagnosed Heart Defects

Please arrange to send all relevant test results and medical records before the appointment. During your visit, you will meet with cardiologist Dolores Vitullo, MD; a cardiac intensivist; a cardiac surgeon; a neonatologist; and a cardiac advanced practice nurse. A social worker and a child life specialist are also members of the team.

Following a detailed history, exam and review of cardiac imaging and other test results, we will discuss the diagnosis, treatment options, and expected outcomes with you and your child. Be sure to come with specific questions. Doing so will allow our team to focus the discussion to meet your needs and optimize the educational value of the visit for your family. At the conclusion of the visit, Dr. Vitullo will write a letter to your pediatrician or referring cardiologist with the conclusions of the members of the cardiac team.

Your visit will include a tour of the hospital and the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit. Please allow approximately 2.5 hours for the visit.

To make an appointment, please call 312.227.4240.

For Families with Infants Still in Utero with Heart Defects

Please arrange to send all relevant test results and medical records before the appointment. During your visit, you will meet with cardiologist Dolores Vitullo, MD; a cardiac intensivist; a cardiac surgeon; and a neonatologist. A social worker and a child life specialist are also members of the team.

Following a detailed history, exam and review of cardiac imaging and other test results, we will discuss the diagnosis, treatment options, and expected outcomes with you and your child. Be sure to come with specific questions. Doing so will allow our team to focus the discussion to meet your needs and optimize the educational value of the visit for your family. At the conclusion of the visit, Dr. Vitullo will write a letter to your pediatrician or referring cardiologist with the conclusions of the members of the cardiac team.

Your visit will include a tour of the hospital and the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit. Please allow approximately 3-4 hours for the visit.

To make an appointment, please call 312.227.4724.

Our Specialists

Cardiology

Dolores Vitullo, MD, Clinical Practice Director

Cardiovascular-Thoracic Su​rgery

Interventional Cardiolo​gy

David Wax, MD, Director

Fetal Echo Cardiology

Cardia​c Care Unit

Mary McBride, MD
Bradley Marino, MD
Mjaye Mazwi, MD
Nguyenvu (Winston) Nguyen, MD
Melissa Smith-Parrish, MD
Eric Wald, MD
Conrad Epting, MD

Neonato​logy

Social Worker

Soo Shim, MS, LCSW

Child Life Specialist

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment for an individual with an existing diagnosed heart defect, please call Silvana Illescas at 312.227.4240. 

To schedule an appointment for in utero defects, please call 312.227.4724.


The Division of Cardiology is committed to excellence in the care of young patients with congenital and acquired heart disease — from the fetus to the adult. Our mission is to foster a collaborative environment in which expertise in cardiac issues is cultivated through the promotion of research, education and prevention.