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Second Opinions

Center for Heart Care

Second opinions are an important step toward making well-informed decisions about your child’s care. A second opinion from our team of pediatric heart care specialists offers added confidence in your path forward. You’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your child’s health is in the hands of leading pediatric cardiology experts.

The pediatric heart specialists at Phoenix Children’s Heart Center will evaluate your child’s diagnosis and condition. We will consult with your child’s current care providers and offer individualized information and guidance.

Our pediatric heart team can:

  • Confirm your child’s diagnosis
  • Review the treatment plan
  • Help you understand your child’s treatment options

Frequently Asked Questions About Second Opinions

The following common questions about second opinions provide information and answers to help you get started. Contact our specialists for personalized answers and guidance about your child’s condition.

Who can request a second opinion?

We welcome requests from anywhere in the country or around the world regarding pediatric heart care or adult congenital (present from birth) heart disease care. This request may come from a parent, family member, patient or referring physician who can provide the patient’s medical history.

When can I request a second opinion?

You may request a second opinion at any time during your child’s care. Even if treatment has already started, a second opinion can help guide changes in care.

What information do I have to provide to prepare for getting a second opinion?

We only need the information listed on the appointment request form. This includes names and other details, a brief reason for the visit, and the best way to reach you.

When we connect with you, we will ask for your insurance information for billing purposes. We will get all health records directly from your primary or referring care team. You do not need to provide those documents.

Is there a charge for a second opinion?

The charge for a second opinion visit is the same amount that would be charged for an office visit with a pediatric cardiologist.

Will further testing be required for a second opinion?

Often, our team only needs access to past records, test results and imaging. Our team will work with your current care team to get all the necessary information.

If we require more tests, updated tests or images to give our opinion, we will contact you to discuss the steps you may need to take. We can coordinate testing at your local hospital or conduct these tests at Phoenix Children’s.

Will requesting a second opinion offend my primary cardiologist?

Most doctors welcome and encourage their peers’ opinion about a case. Any high-quality care team wants families to feel comfortable with their treatment decisions.

Keep in mind that you have a right and responsibility to understand the specifics of your child’s condition, including options to treat and manage heart disease. A second opinion adds confidence and empowers you to make fully informed decisions about your child’s care.

If I am not from Arizona, how can I ensure my insurance provider will cover any medical costs?

Contact your insurance company to confirm your plan’s coverage and get specific details about seeing an out-of-state provider. We are also happy to review your insurance information and plan coverage once you share your insurance information with us.

Questions to Ask Your Child’s Medical Provider About Heart Care

This checklist can help you get important information from the medical professionals at your child’s heart center:

  • How many procedures do you perform each year?
  • How many times have you and your program performed this procedure or ones like it in the past year and over the past five years?
  • What is the survival rate for this type of procedure at the time of hospital discharge? What is the survival rate after one year?
  • How do your results compare to other centers’ results?
  • What are the most likely complications or other issues that can go wrong with this procedure? How often do they happen within one year of this procedure?
  • Do you share your results with national data programs to help improve care? Is this information available to the public?
  • Do your surgeons have special training in congenital heart surgery? What other types of special training do your doctors and nurses have?
  • How are family members included in the decision-making process? How will the care team give me information or reports before, during and after the procedure?
  • How many days do you think my child will be in the hospital, both before and after the procedure?

Questions to Ask Providers About an Infant’s Heart Condition and Care

If your infant is diagnosed with a heart condition, ask your child’s care provider these questions:

  • How do you work together with my baby’s doctor after birth and after the procedure?
  • If my baby needs to stay in the hospital after delivery to prepare for a procedure, where will my baby be? What about after the procedure? Do you have a cardiac intensive care unit (CVICU) that cares mainly for children with heart defects?
  • Will I get to hold my baby before or after the procedure?
  • Will I be able to breastfeed my baby after delivery and again after the operation? Will my baby require a special diet? Should I expect my baby to take a bottle or breastfeed without any problems?
  • What are the expected long-term results for this heart defect and the recommended treatment? How long is my child expected to live? Are there possible lifelong problems I need to be aware of for my child?
  • As my child gets older, does your medical care provide a plan for transitioning from pediatric care to adult care? Do you have an adult congenital heart team?

Common Questions About Congenital Heart Defects

Download a copy of FAQs About Congenital Heart Defects from the American Heart Association (AHA).

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