How Much Does a Pacemaker Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

A pacemaker may be required by your doctor if your heart isn’t functioning as it should be.  A pacemaker is a device that uses electrical impulses that are then delivered to the heart maker in order to regulate the beating of the heart.  While a pacemaker may not be your only option, there are other alternatives out there as well.

Atlas Pacemaker by Travis Goodspeed, on Flickr
Atlas Pacemaker” (CC BY 2.0) by  Travis Goodspeed

How much does a pacemaker cost?

The number of leads used, the brand and type of pacemaker will affect the price.  On average, the cost of a pacemaker can be anywhere from $32,000 to as much as $105,000 without insurance.  We were able to call a few hospitals across the United States and were able to get estimates over the phone or via email.   With this table, keep in mind these are the prices for those who don’t have any complications and are for hospitalization fees only.

The St Louis Post-Dispatch noted one hospital charged $72,000, while a hospital eight miles away only charged $31,530.

StateHospital Charges
North Carolina$49,000
New Hampshire$39,500
New York$48,000
South Carolina$54,000

Pacemaker overview

There are three types of pacemakers:  a single-chamber, dual-chamber and biventricular.  The differences between these three will be the amount of leads being connected to the heart.  The single-chamber will have one connection to either the left or right ventricle, the dual-chamber will have two connections to the left and right ventricle, and the biventricular will have three leads connecting to the left and right ventricle and the right atrium.

The pacemaker procedure is considered a minor surgery.  During the procedure, you will be placed under a local anesthetic, and a doctor will numb the area where the pacemaker will be installed.  Once numb, he or she will thread wires through the veins into the right location.  Where the pacemaker was placed, the doctor will create a small incision, usually in the chest or abdomen, and sew the cut.  The Mayo Clinic has a diagram showing you how it’s done.  It won’t require open-heart surgery.

After the surgery, you may notice a slight bump under the skin where the device was implanted.

The average procedure takes less than two hours.

Pacemakers are priced separately aside from the surgery fees, the hospitalization fees and consultation fees.

What are the extra costs?

Hospitalization fees are going to be extra as you will be required to stay in the hospital as you recover.  A typical night in the hospital can be $1,000+ per night on average.   Most patients, on average, will go home within 24 hours.

There will more than likely be a doctor and surgery fee.  This price will vary depending on the country where the surgery is performed and the hospital performing the procedure.

There are also consultation fees which may be applied before you proceed with the surgery.

After the pacemaker procedure is complete, you will be required to have checkups with a heart specialist to ensure that everything is running at 100%.

Pain medication will be prescribed after the surgery since most patients feel discomfort for the first 48 hours.

A pacemaker battery replacement will be needed every five to eight years.  Known as another minor procedure, this can cost upwards of $17,000+

Tips to know

According to the American Heart Association, more than 600,000 pacemakers are installed each year.

Potential risks may include blood clotting, pacemaker malfunction or an infection.

How long can you live with a pacemaker?  For the most part, as long as you keep up with your pacemaker’s maintenance, you can go on with life as you normally would.  Most live a fulfilling life.

Why do you need a pacemaker?

Patients who had a medical procedure to treat an arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation may need a pacemaker to help regulate the heartbeat.

If a patient is taking beta blockers, this may slow the heartbeat.

Those who either faint or have symptoms related to a slow heartbeat.

Heart muscle problems which cause electrical signals to move too slowly through the heart muscle.

Those with long QT syndrome.

An aging heart or those with a heart disease unable to set a correct pace for your heart.

How can I save money?

Talk with your insurance company.  Since your doctor is more than likely going to recommend this procedure, this will more than likely be covered by your insurance company.  Consult with your insurance company to get more details on what they cover since every plan has its own limitations, co-pays and deductibles.  Those on Medicare should be covered; however, without supplemental insurance, you may be required to pay up to $40,000+ out of pocket.

Some patients find that if they don’t have insurance, they tend to get the procedure done out of the country in countries such as Mexico and India.   For instance, the pacemaker cost in India can cost $3,500 to $13,000.

Many hospitals and clinics will offer discounts to patients who pay in cash up front.

Compare hospitals in your area.  We found that by calling or even emailing the hospital, they are able to offer a close estimate.  Doing this can save you up to $30,000+

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