As pleased as I have been with the doctors and nurses at Northwestern, I knew that it was still important to get a second opinion on the recommended surgery before going under the knife. When I mentioned this plan to Dr. Russell during my appointment last week, he was very supportive of it and said that he encourages his patients to seek second opinions before making a final decision.
At the strong recommendation of folks from the Adult Congenital Heart Association, I used the ACHD Clinic Directory to find another cardiologist and clinic specializing in adult congenital heart disease/defects. Because adults with CHDs have such unique circumstances, it's important to find cardiologists who specialize in this area. I now have an appointment next week to meet with Dr. Ziyad M. Hijazi, the medical director of the Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease at Rush University Medical Center. I fully expect that he will agree with the recommendation for surgery, but I do want to hear it from one more medical expert before I go through with it.