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 or interventions. 

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 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 2nd nationally in U.S. News & World Report, and Lurie Children’s is ranked in the top ten nationally among children’s hospitals.

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 cardiologist Dolores Vitullo, MD, the program’s medical coordinator and a cardiac intensivist, a cardiac surgeon and the clinical nurse coordinator. Other sub-specialists (i.e. interventionalists, electrophysiologists) 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, 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. 

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, please call Silvana Illescas at 312.227.4240

Our Specialists


Cardiovascular-Thoracic Su​rgery

Interventional Cardiolo​gy


Cardia​c Care Unit


Related Specialties

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.