Cardiology Second Opinion Program

When children are diagnosed with serious heart conditions, many parents and providers 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 or interventions. 

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

The program is designed for children with existing diagnosed heart defects whose parents are looking for the best possible medical management and surgical treatment of their condition.

The Lurie Children's Difference

The Heart Center at Lurie Children’s is currently ranked 8th nationally in U.S. News & World Report, and Lurie Children’s continues to be the top hospital in Illinois, ranking in all 10 specialties.

We offer depth of expertise in every aspect of care for patients with congenital heart disease, both outpatient and inpatient. A large cardiac imaging program facilitates our ability to provide comprehensive opinions for your child’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.  With surgical outcomes for repair of congenital heart disease among the very best in the nation, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons rated Lurie Children’s as a 3-Star hospital, the highest rating level awarded, in their Fall 2017 Harvest Report of the STS Congenital Cardiac Surgery Database.

In addition to our multi-disciplinary and comprehensive care plans, we strive to make evaluation and treatment easy on your family’s lifestyle. To that end, the benefits of the weekly outpatient consultative program includes: 

  • The ability to meet and talk with all the healthcare providers in one place during one visit
  • Convenient scheduling, with most visits scheduled within one to two weeks after initial contact
  • An introduction to the hospital, a tour of the Regenstein CCU and the chance to meet 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 an experienced cardiologist and a clinical nurse coordinator. Other sub-specialists (i.e. interventionalists, electrophysiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists) are also available should the need arise.  

Following a detailed history, exam, and review of cardiac imaging, other tests results and previous surgical procedures, 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, our team 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. 

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment or for any questions, please contact Silvana Illescas at 312.227.4240 or  

In addition to in-person visits, we now offer telemedicine visits via video or phone. Some appointments will still require you to be seen in-person, but your physician and care team will let you know if a telemedicine appointment is available.

Information for Telemedicine Visits

Please refer to the documents below to prepare for your child's telemedicine visit. 

Learn more about what to expect during a telemedicine visit

Our Specialists

Learn more about our Cardiology Second Opinion specialists below. 


Stuart Berger, MD

Division Head, Pediatric Cardiology

Ra-id Abdulla MD

Attending Physician

Amy S. Lay, MD

Director of Non-Critical Care Inpatient Cardiology, Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit

Philip T. Thrush, MD

Medical Director, Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Program

Carrie Alden, APRN-NP

Director, Advanced Practice Providers and Nursing, Heart Center

Catherine Fitt, BSN, RN, CPEN

Registered Nurse

Cardiovascular-Thoracic Su​rgery

Osama M. Eltayeb, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Michael C. Mongé, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Interventional Cardiolo​gy

Alan W. Nugent, MD

Section Head, Interventional Cardiac Catheterization 

Paul Tannous, MD, PhD

Attending Physician

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