How Much Does an Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery Cost?
Aortic valve replacement surgery can save a person’s life. Most heart problems are a result of an aortic valve disease. This disease occurs when the aortic valve no longer works correctly. Either inherited at birth or developed over time, aortic valve disease can be addressed by a surgical procedure called an aortic valve replacement. The techniques for valve surgery vary according to the severity of the condition and what is most appropriate for the patient’s health condition. The techniques include biological replacement, mechanical replacement, and the Ross procedure, a much newer technique. This surgery will be performed by a heart surgeon who repairs dangerous malfunctions in the heart’s largest valve. Because of the seriousness of this surgery, the cost can also be quite high.
How much does it cost?
- Any type of cardiac (heart) surgery is going to come at a very high cost. In fact, the United States is known to have one of the most expensive charges when it comes to surgeries. Placidway.com states that heart valve replacement or repair in this country generally costs an average of $25,000 per valve. Those patients who undergo multiple valve replacement surgical procedures may expect to pay up to $100,000 for such services, depending on hospital or surgical center location. Remember that these prices are going to be without any type of health insurance.
- Hospitals outside the US are known to charge much more reasonable prices. Medical travelers in India, for instance, can get the same quality cardiac procedure at around $9,500 for a single valve replacement. The double valve replacements can cause around $11,500.
- You can also get online quotes at some medical tourism sites like Healism.com. A valve procedure to be done in India for a person aged 20-29 is estimated to be around $5,800 – $7,080.
- Medsolution.com reported that the cost for valve procedure in the United States is around $70,000 for both valves. According to the site, the same procedure costs $33,137 when done in France.
- If you are a United States citizen, plan on spending at least $70,000 to $125,000 for more than one valve to be replaced. For one valve alone, it can vary anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 per.
- If you have a health insurance plan, this surgery will be covered under 99% of the plans that are available. To know what is going to cover under your plan, it is best to discuss your policy details with an insurance agent. For those that do not have health insurance coverage, consider looking for a policy using the search engine eHealthInsurance.com.
What is going to be included?
- Aortic valve replacement surgery is performed by cardiac surgeons who are not just trained on this procedure but are certified professionals. They should also be members of a certified and accredited hospital, surgical center, organization or association in their state or country of origin.
- According to Cleveland.org , 80% of aortic valves are replaced with a bioprosthesis (biological valve replacement). Biological valves are usually made of tissue, but they may also have some artificial parts to provide additional support and allow the valve to be sewn in place. Mechanical valves, on the other hand, are completely made of mechanical parts. Usually using bileaflet valve, mechanical valves are non-reactive and tolerated well by the body. Finally, the Ross procedure replaces the pulmonary valve with a pulmonary homograft. This procedure is commonly performed on patients under 30 years old who want to avoid lifetime use of anticoagulants (blood thinning medications) after surgery.
- Regardless of the specific procedure, the patient will be sedated under general anesthesia. The surgery will take 3-4 hours to complete, and then recovery time will be needed.
What are the extra costs?
- Surgeon fee. Like most surgeries, the payment does not include the fee for the surgeon. You may need to shed thousand dollars or more for the person who is going to perform the procedure.
- Anesthesiologist fee. Since the procedure is done under general anesthesia, you need to pay for a licensed anesthesiologist.
- Rehabilitation after the surgery. It is recommended that the patient stay in the hospital after the surgery. The length of this hospital stay will depend on the severity of the condition as well as the overall health of the patient.
Factors that influence the price:
- The type of procedure. Because aortic valve replacement surgery can be done using different a few different procedures, each one is going to cost a different amount. Consult your doctor to find out which procedure would be best for your specific condition.
- Location. Most countries outside the United States are known to offer reasonably lower costs for the surgery.
- The age of the patient. Age is one of the considerations of which of the three procedure should be done. Of course, this determines the price as well.
Tips to know:
- There are complications associated with an aortic valve replacement surgery. You may need to discuss these with your surgeon and consider your options very carefully.
Questions to ask:
- Does my health make me a good candidate for aortic valve replacement surgery? If not, what are my alternatives?
- Will my health insurance cover the costs for the aortic valve replacement surgery?
- What are the possible complications from the procedure?
How can I save money?
- Regardless of the fare and accommodation costs, one can save money if he will have the operation done outside the country. You can always find skilled and experienced surgeons in India, France, Philippines, Mexico and other countries. Remember, if you do get this surgery done outside of the country, you must proceed at your own risk! Also, many insurance companies will not cover the cost of the surgery if it is done out of the country. Check with your provider before you make any arrangements.
- Ensure that your health insurance will cover part of the costs of the surgery. This will greatly lessen your expenses. Again, if you want to change policies or find a new one, eHealthInsurance.com is a great place to start.