In a world where cardiovascular disease is very common, a visit to a cardiologist is essential for any heart-related symptoms.
These include chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, heart rhythm disorders, inflammation of the ankles, hands, and abdomen. At the same time, cardiological consultation is mandatory for people suffering from obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, or hypertension, as they face the highest risk for cardiovascular disease. Also, it is advisable to seek the help of a cardiologist if you have people in the family with cardiovascular problems (heart attack, stroke, arrhythmias) or if the family doctor suspects that you may have a problem.
Other reasons are: if you have “bad” cholesterol (HDL) levels above the allowable limits, if you have high blood pressure, you are a smoker, have diabetes or you are overweight – these all are risks to your heart health.
How much should you pay for a cardiologist visit?
Depending on the place where you are living, the doctor you are visiting, the type of insurance coverage, and the gravity of the problem the price you would pay could be acceptable or somewhat on the high end.
If you’re seeking treatment for heart damage, on average, the price of a visit to your cardiologist without insurance can range from $195 to $510. For those who are referred to cardiologists and have all their tests done, visiting two-three times could be as high as $700 or more before any diagnosis is given – which means it’s possible that they’ll end up spending more than $3,000 in total if they don’t have an insurance plan to cover them.
According to Cardiovascular Consulting, the median price for a visit without insurance will vary between $200 and $400, and this would include the physical exam, office visits, and electrocardiogram. Definitely, the final price will depend on how much information the cardiologist will need in order to make a correct diagnosis and what specific problem needs to be treated. In case the EKG didn’t offer sufficient data, for example, more tests could cost an extra $500 – $1,000.
Cardiologist visit details
You will often be met with a routine check-up and an EKG during your first visit to the cardiologist. This allows them to see precisely how your heart is beating in real-time, which may reveal irregularities that are otherwise undetectable by simply listening. Stress tests can be used to determine if you are fit enough for certain activities or lifestyles such as running, biking, etc. The test itself involves walking on a treadmill while connected to monitors measuring breathing rate (pulse) and blood pressure before starting up the machine at various speeds until reaching what’s called “maximal effort”, where it becomes too difficult for most people because they have reached their maximum capacity of oxygen consumption from working muscles during exercise; this point varies between individuals, mainly due to age.
Some patients might have primary care physicians refer them to their cardiologists; however, if you do not already have one or wish to get another opinion, then this appointment can help get started on finding someone who suits you best. In order to determine the treatment plan, you might be required to also give blood and/or urine for examination, which means more than one visit to the doctor.
Which are the additional costs?
It’s not uncommon for cardiologists to use an EKG during your first visit. It can cost anywhere from $15-$45, and it is a non-invasive test that uses electrodes to attach to your chest and show up on an electronic machine called a monitor in real-time.
Depending on your health condition there may be more tests required, including a stress test or an echocardiogram; the cardiologist can choose which one you’ll need to undergo based on what they find during the initial visit. A stress test is usually around $150 – $200 for people who don’t have any health conditions, but if there are underlying issues such as high blood pressure, then additional costs could go up anywhere from $300 – $3,000 depending on the number and complexity problems they find and whether surgery needs to be done afterward. An echocardiogram itself typically ranges between $300 and $750.
If you want to get an accurate diagnosis regarding your heart health situation you should try to book at least three visits to the cardiologist. The first meeting is for a generic consultation, where the doctor will make a general idea about your health, medical history, potential risks affecting your heart and will propose some solutions. If there are other tests required, like the ones mentioned above, then you will visit your doctor more than once.
Important things to consider
It is a good idea to ask your doctor how much would the lab tests cost before getting them. In the case that this must be done at the hospital, the price could be higher than at a local outpatient center.
Also, the professional society for cardiologists is not recommending a stress test if there aren’t any symptoms like palpitations, chest pain, or difficulties in breathing.