How Much Does Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

Aortic valve replacement is a procedure where a patient’s failing aortic valve is replaced with an artificial heart valve, either via a human, man-made materials or even from an animal.

With four valves located in the heart, they have the function to pump blood to and from the heart, while circulating the blood around the body.  If one of these valves had a defect, it could cause the blood to either flow backward or forward, causing a variety of problems such as chest pain.

Common causes for heart valve problems can include a congenital heart defect, commonly found at birth, and, oftentimes, surgery is performed to resolve the issue.

Operation Open Heart by DFAT photo library, on Flickr
Operation Open Heart” (CC BY 2.0) by DFAT photo library

How much does aortic valve replacement surgery cost?

If you’re having the procedure done in the United States without any insurance, 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.  The costs, according to our research, will depend on where you live, the surgeon and the hospital., for example, states that heart valve replacement or repair in the United States generally costs an average of $25,000 per valve.  Patients who undergo multiple valve replacement surgical procedures may expect to pay up to $100,000 for this type of procedure, without any health insurance, depending on hospital or surgical center location. reported the costs for this type of valve procedure in the United States is around $70,000 for both valves, on average.  According to the website, the same procedure, when done overseas, can cost much less.  For example, in France, it can cost $33,000.

A forum member on said she had just received her bill from the Mayo Clinic for $119,000.  Others said it was best to budget $100,000.

Aortic valve replacement surgery overview

During the surgery, patients will be put under a general anesthesia while being connected to a heart-lung bypass machine.  When this machine is turned on, the tubes, which are inserted into the heart and the major blood vessels, will divert the blood through the machine to keep the blood away from the heart while the surgeon works on it.  An incision will be made in the chest, and the surgeon will cut away the diseased value and will attach a new one using either a biological or mechanical heart valve.  This procedure, depending on the complexity, will take anywhere from three to six hours.

According to, 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 a bileaflet valve, mechanical valves are non-reactive and tolerated well by the body.  Lastly, the Ross procedure replaces the pulmonary valve with a pulmonary homograft, and this procedure is commonly performed on patients younger than 30 years old who want to avoid lifetime use of anticoagulants (blood thinning medications) after surgery.

Recovery time, as long as everything goes according to plan, can take up to eight weeks.  After the surgery, most patients find themselves staying at the hospital for up to 10 days, with the first 48 hours inside an ICU to closely monitor your progress while being connected to a ventilator.

What are the extra costs?

Before the surgery is even considered, patients will have to undergo a series of tests and consultations to make sure this is the right recommended course of action.  These tests, at a minimum, will usually include blood tests, x-rays and a physical exam.  With or without insurance, plan on spending a few thousand before your surgery even is scheduled.

A surgeon fee, if not included in the estimates/bill, mentioned above, this could add yet another $5,000 to $10,000 to your bill.  All hospitals will have its own billing policies, so it’s important to talk with the financial department to know what your bill will include.

Some patients, depending on their condition, may need multiple physical therapy sessions to learn how to move without harming the incisions.  The average physical therapy session, without insurance, can cost $50 to $250+ per session.

Patients with a man-made mechanical valve will be required to take a blood-thinning medication for life.  This type of medication, depending on the brand and your insurance, can cost $15 to $200+ per month.  For example, a generic Warfarin can cost $20 per month, whereas Plavix, a popular brand name blood thinner, can cost closer to $200.

Also, aside from the medication, plan on taking frequent blood tests to monitor the progress.

Tips to know:

Aortic valve replacement surgery risks, according to, can include infection, bleeding, kidney failure, valve failure, heart attack and/or a stroke.

The aortic valve replacement success rate, according to, is 94 percent.

How can I save money?

If you don’t have health insurance, talk with the hospital’s financial department.  If you meet certain income requirements and/or pay the bill in full, you can often see discounts as high as 40 percent.

Regardless of the fare and accommodation costs, you may be able to save money if you have the operation done outside the country.  You can always find skilled and experienced surgeons in India, France, Philippines, Mexico and other countries, for example.  However, if you even consider this option, you must proceed at your own risk as your insurance company won’t cover the procedure.

Ensure that your health insurance will cover part of the costs of the surgery as this will greatly lessen your expenses.  Again, if you want to change policies or find a new one, is a great place to compare health insurance policies for free.

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Average Reported Cost: $1000000

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Almud Sayiid (Minneapois,  Minnesota) paid $1000000 and said:

    Still heart no work good.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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