How Much Does a Coronary Angiography Cost?
A coronary angiogram, or coronary angiography, is a special x-ray procedure of the coronary arteries for detailed visualization. Cardiologists insert a hollow tube through which dye is injected into the coronary arteries to observe its flow and highlights any blockage. The dye helps to show whether there are obstructions that might lead to coronary problems and what treatments need to be done. The coronary arteries are responsible for transporting oxygen-rich blood to the myocardium. If one of these arteries is blocked or even clogged, the results could be deadly.
In 2011 alone, more than a million patients in the United States underwent the diagnostic test, according to government data. It is considered to be the “gold standard” for heart disease evaluation.
How much does it cost?
- There are many factors that can affect the price of a coronary angiography. One of these factors is the urgency of your situation. If you need the test done stat, the costs can be higher. Also, the doctor performing and reading the results of the test as well as the hospital where the test is done will affect the cost. Finally, if there are any complications from the test, you may need further medical attention.
- Pennsylvania based cardiologist Stephen Sinatra Drsinatra.com puts the cost of a coronary angiogram between $5,000 to $10,000.
- HealthCareBlueBook.com quoted a price with a breakdown for physician services at $442 on average and outpatient facility services for $4,610 on the average.
- A newer and less invasive method of angiogram called the CT coronary angiogram costs less at $1,250, including the physicians visit, compared to a standard angiogram which costs about $7,000.
- Depending on the exact procedure you choose to have, the prices for coronary angiography can range anywhere from $4,500 to $11,000 for a traditional angiography, to as little as $1,250 for the CT coronary angiogram.
- Of course, if you have health insurance, your policy should be able to cover a procedure such as this. Since there are thousands upon thousands of policies out there, it is best to check your insurance company to get a quote of you will actually owe due to your deductible or co-pay. For those that do not have policies, eHealthInsurance.com is a great place to start looking for one.
What is going to be included?
- Often referred to as a cardiac catherization, a coronary angiography can access the coronary circulation of the heart using a catheter. This test is designed to help recognize the heart chamber size, the heart muscle performance, the blood flow, and more.
- During the procedure, the patient will usually be awake. However, there are times that a local anesthesia may be used to lessen the discomfort of the catheter being inserted. The reason that a patient should be awake during the procedure is to alert the doctor if any uncomfortable sensations are felt as they can indicate that something has gone wrong.
- During the test, the patient’s blood pressure will be recorded and monitored, along with x-ray motion pictures that can capture the blood flow within the arteries. Guiding a small device known as a catheter through the arteries, the doctor will be able to create x-ray pictures one-by-one.
What are the extra costs?
- Before the test begins, patients will more than likely have to go under a chest x-ray, blood test and possibly an electrocardiogram test.
- If the test results show a blockage or narrowing of the arteries, additional tests or stent placement may be needed. Treatment with angioplasty can cost $30,000 or more, and heart bypass surgery can cost as much as $70,000 to $200,000 or more. Again, there can be many things that can be diagnosed during this test.
Tips to know:
- Health insurance covers an angiography procedure as long as it is done to diagnose or treat an illness. The insurance will cover at least 50% of the costs of the procedure, and it may even be as high as 100%.
- The procedure will take at least 30 minutes but no longer than 3 hours. However, by the time the patient arrives, gets checken in, has the test, and recovers, the whole process will take about 6 hours.
Questions to ask
- What will I feel during the procedure?
- How long will the procedure take?
- When will I get the results?
- How much radiation is involved?
- Will recovery take long?
- Will this procedure be covered by my insurance company?
How can I save money?
- Check out hospital packages and offers. Those who pay in cash or are uninsured get some percentage off their bills. For example, the Washington Hospital Healthcare System in California offers a 35% discount to those who lack health insurance. These people can also possibly finance their medical procedures and pay them off little by little.
- Again, if you have health insurance, be sure to check with your provider to see what they are going to be able to cover. All insurance policies are going to vary.