First Visit, Second Opinion Appointments at Duke’s Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center

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If your child needs advanced heart care, Duke’s Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center is ready to help. We know it can be daunting to navigate the world of specialty care, so our team of referral coordinators, administrators, and schedulers break the process down into steps and help you through each one. We hope to make things as smooth as possible for you and your child.

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The Referral Process

The exact process you and your child will follow depends on which services they need and where you live. Most likely, your child's pediatrician or cardiologist will refer your child to Duke for an appointment. We strive to make your in-person visits to Duke as efficient and convenient as possible, sometimes by making multiple appointments on the same day. Virtual video visits are also an option.

General Heart Care
If your child is referred for general pediatric cardiology care, our pediatric cardiologists will evaluate your child, discuss concerning symptoms like chest pain or fainting, and review test results that could indicate a heart murmur, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, or other heart issues. 

Prenatal Heart Care for Your Unborn Child
If you are pregnant and have been told your baby may have a congenital heart defect, your OB-GYN or maternal-fetal medicine specialist will send a referral to Duke. We can meet with you before your baby is born and make sure you know what to expect.

Heart Procedures and Surgeries
If your child is referred to Duke for pediatric electrophysiology studies, heart catheterization procedures, and/or heart surgery, we will contact you after we receive the referral and outline your next steps. 

Pediatric heart experts will review your child’s health records, physician notes, test results, imaging scans, and other relevant information. They will order more tests if needed, and may schedule a consultation to discuss the recommended treatment plan for your child. Once agreed upon, the procedure or surgery will be scheduled.

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First Visit / Consultation

Consultations usually last about an hour. A referral coordinator will suggest either an in-person visit or a virtual video visit based on your child’s needs. During the appointment, a pediatric cardiologist or a pediatric heart surgeon will discuss your child’s condition, and you and other caregivers can ask questions. Together, you and your child’s doctor(s) will decide on next steps for treatment.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Seeking a Second Opinion

A second opinion can confirm a diagnosis, offer a different diagnosis, and provide information about the most advanced treatments available. If you live far from Duke, we offer virtual visits for your convenience. Second opinion appointments range from 30 to 60 minutes and are dedicated to discussing your child’s diagnosis, answering your questions, and recommending treatment options. 

After you submit your request for a second opinion, we will contact you and request your child’s medical records for review. We will schedule your appointment after the records have been received and reviewed. 

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 02/10/2022 by