Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery Second Opinion Program

Receiving the news that your child has a diagnosis of congenital heart disease can be challenging and overwhelming. This is particularly true when recommendations are made for testing, medications, procedures, or surgical interventions.

Lurie Children's 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 Heart Center team helps ensure the best interventions are selected for your child. Obtaining a second opinion does not require a transfer of care from your current physician or cardiologist. It allows you to better understand your child’s medical condition and obtain expert guidance in directing medical and/or surgical management.

We strive to make evaluation and treatment easy on your family’s lifestyle. Benefits of our program include: 

  • 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 Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and the chance to meet the medical and nursing team

Make an Appointment

Please use our online second opinion request form to submit information and schedule an appointment.

Traveling from out-of-state? Our Destination Services team is available to help make your experience at Lurie Children's go as smoothly as possible. Learn more

For any questions or for additional information, please call us at 312.227.2489 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

Second opinions are most helpful after your child’s initial diagnosis. Seeking a second opinion early in the course of your child’s care can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the heart disease and steps required for treatment. This can also allow for ample time to thoroughly assess your child’s health and allow for time to reflect on the options available before any treatments are initiated.

There are a wide variety of diagnoses that can benefit from a second opinion. When a procedure or surgical intervention is recommended, this often signifies a reasonable degree of seriousness to your child’s condition. Second opinions allow for an additional thorough examination of your child’s condition to ensure the recommended procedures are the best course of treatment.

Lurie Children's Heart Center provides comprehensive services for all forms of heart diseases (congenital heart disease) in children as well as adults with congenital heart disease, and performs all types of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for children with heart diseases, including heart transplantation.

The Heart Center at Lurie Children’s is the top pediatric program in Illinois and is ranked 8th in the nation for child cardiology and heart surgery by U.S.News World Report. Our team of expert cardiac specialists provides care for patients with the most complex and serious heart conditions throughout their lifespans. We use the most comprehensive heart tests and treatments to deliver the highest quality care for patients and families. Learn more about our Heart Center

In order to provide a comprehensive second opinion, our team needs pediatrician notes, current cardiologist notes, and reports on any lab tests or imaging your child has received. At the time of making the appointment, a team member will review the child’s electronic medical records. We may ask that you contact your cardiologist’s office to obtain records that are not available in the electronic medical records. For more information, please refer to our Family Referral Form or our Physician Referral Form for more information.

On arrival to our central downtown location, 225 E. Chicago Avenue, you will check in at our front desk on the 2nd floor of the hospital. From there, you will be directed to the 3rd floor via our patient elevators. Check-in for Cardiology is the West Check In.

From here, your child’s information will be taken to ensure the chart is up to date prior to beginning the appointment. A medical assistant or nurse will then direct you to have vital signs taken, or escort you and your child directly to any necessary imaging or testing.

Once necessary testing is complete and vitals signs are taken, you will meet with an experienced cardiologist and registered nurse to begin discussing your child’s condition and current state. 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.

Our entire team works to ensure your visit includes ample time for any necessary testing, patient assessment, and family-patient-provider discussion. Please allow approximately 2.5 hours for the 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, Cardiology

Amy S. Lay, MD

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

Andrew N. Pelech, MD

Attending Physician, Cardiology

Philip T. Thrush, MD

Medical Director, Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Program

Carrie Alden, APRN-NP

Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Advanced Practice Providers

Jillian Wilken, BSN, RN, CCRN

Nurse Coordinator

Cardiovascular-Thoracic Su​rgery

David S. Winlaw, MBBS, MD, FRACS

Division Head, Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery

Osama M. Eltayeb, MD

Director, Vascular Rings Program; Assistant Professor of Surgery

Michael C. Mongé, MD

Surgical Director, Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Program; Attending Physician, Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery; Assistant Professor of Surgery

Surgeons are supported by a Heart Center team of specially trained pediatric caregivers with experience treating congenital heart disease in children. These specialists include anesthesiologistsintensivists, advanced practice nurses, perfusionists and technologists.

Interventional Cardiolo​gy

Alan W. Nugent, MD

Section Head, Interventional Cardiac Catheterization 

Jeremy L. Fox, MD

Attending Physician, Cardiology

Paul Tannous, MD, PhD

Attending Physician, Cardiology

Cardiac Anesthesia

Eric Vu, MD

Medical Director, Cardiac Anesthesiology

Crystal A. Spaeth, APRN-NP

Advanced Practice Nurse, Cardiac Anesthesia

Administrative Staff

Catarina Gramata

Executive Assistant, Cardiology

Mariela Diaz

Administrative Assistant

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