Patients with a history of heart disease may be candidates for surgery. The type and severity depend on their individual situation but often include those who have severe coronary artery problems as well as valve issues or aneurysms in the blood vessel wall that could lead to stroke/brain hemorrhage if not treated aggressively enough.
Surgery risks are many and include infection, reaction to anesthesia, blood clots, or blood loss. There’s also a chance you may have a stroke, heart attack, as well as cognitive impairment afterward, and even death.
How Much Does Heart Surgery Cost?
Generally, hearts surgeries are covered by health insurance. If you benefit from health insurance coverage be prepared to pay only for coinsurance that might be 10% to 50% or even more of the total costs, plus you should co-pay for the doctor visits and prescription drugs.
Depending on the type of surgery, the doctor, and the facility, if you don’t have health insurance coverage, be prepared to pay anywhere between $30,000 and $201,000, or even more for one of the most common types of heart surgery. Generally, removal of a blockage is the cheapest in this range, the cost of the bypass surgery is somewhere in the middle and the heart valve replacement is the most expensive. Though, the prices for heart transplants are much higher.
A report from the American Heart Association states that the price for any heart procedure or surgery at an average hospital is around $63,000, without the doctor fee. According to this report, the average price for a heart valve replacement is $165,000, for a heart bypass you would pay around $118,000 and the average cost of a plaque removal from an artery is $31,000.
For instance, the patients going to the Pali Momi Medical Center from Hawaii would pay around $31,500 for the removal of plaque from blood vessels, not including the doctor fee. Also, the uninsured patients that pay the whole amount within 30 days would have a bill of $19,000, or $22,000. Depending on the procedure, expect to pay around $5,000 or even more for the doctor fees.
The average price for a heart valve replacement surgery is anywhere between $81,000 and $201,000 or even more. Also, the average price for a heart bypass surgery is anywhere between $71,000 and $202,000 or even more.
The total price paid for a heart transplant might be around $802,000 or even more, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
Heart Surgery details
Cardiac surgery is performed for several reasons and ranges from minimally invasive procedures, with very small incisions to the removal of the heart and its replacement with a donor’s heart during a rescue transplant. There are many types of heart surgery and each one is as unique as the individual who needs it.
Most cardiac surgeries have a few things in common: they are performed under general anesthesia, requiring the patient to be intubated.
Minimally invasive cardiac surgery is assisted by a robot using the laparoscopic method, where the device is operated by the surgeon. The advantage of the method is that the incision made is very small compared to classic surgeries where the incision is so large that the surgeon can insert his hands. There are only three holes through which the arms of the “robot” are inserted.
What are the extra costs?
After the surgery patients should learn exercises to assist recovery and also learn how to move without hurting the incision area. For this some sessions of physical therapy will be necessary, that can cost anywhere between $60 and $360 each. You can find information regarding physical therapy after surgery at the Washington Medical Center Cardiac Surgery Clinic.
Patients are prescribed different medications after heart surgery. For example, Warfarin (brand name Coumadin) is prescribed for blood thinning and in order to prevent the development of blood clots, the patient should take Plavix. Besides these, there are situations where an ACE inhibitor to control blood pressure and prevent heart failure is needed. Also, in order to slow the heart rate, a beta-blocker is a must. If you choose to purchase these from Drugstore.com, the monthly costs for the brand name Warfarin are anywhere between $55 and $75, and anywhere between $20 and $30 for a generic one. For the Plavix expect to pay around $210 or even more per month. Depending on the drug, statins, and beta-blocker would cost anywhere between $15 and $210 per month. The monthly costs for ACE inhibitors are $15 to $110.
Important things to consider
The CardioThoracic Surgery Network is the best resource for finding a surgeon who specializes in heart surgery, also known as “cardiac”. Their state-by-state list makes it easy to find a professional with precision.
U.S News & World Report is a great resource for finding the top cardiology and heart surgery hospitals in America. This list combines data from the volume of patients treated as well as the rate of how much damage occurs per affected patient.
How can I save money?
If you don’t have health insurance coverage, but choose to pay in cash you might be able to get a discount of 30% or even more. For instance, patients that go to the Washington Hospital Healthcare System in California would get a 35% discount.