Costs of Heart Valve Surgery
My number one priority for heart valve surgery focused on finding the right surgeon. I remember thinking, “Money is no object for this procedure. I don’t care what it costs. I want to find the best surgeon. I want the best care. I will go anywhere to have this done. I’ll worry about the fees afterward.”
A long time ago, a friend once said to me, “When you die, the money in your bank account is irrelevant.” That might be cliche, but I believe it. That is why I was so adamant about finding the top cardiac surgeon for my heart valve replacement.
Still, one of the most curious questions I had about heart valve surgery was, “How much is valve surgery going to cost me?”
Unfortunately, no one I spoke with seemed to have a reliable answer to that question. My uncle told me, “A procedure like that will probably cost over $100,000.” Another buddy said, “My cousin had some valve work done... I hear it cost him $200,000.”
I then went to the Internet and searched the world wide web for an answer. I never really found anything that detailed how much a heart valve surgery actually cost the patient.
Finally... Some Data About Heart Valve Repair & Heart Valve Replacment Costs
It was quite frustrating and time consuming.
Eventually though, I found three references to heart valve surgery costs from Columbia University, The National Library of Medicine and East Carolina University. Here is what the references said:
- Columbia University. Between 1992 and 1997, length of hospital stay decreased from 13.4 to 8.0 days and cost decreased from $37,047 to $21,856. Similarly, between 1992 and 1997 for mitral valve repair, length of stay decreased from 15.6 to 8.1 days and cost decreased from $45,072 to $21,747. The net result over the time period from 1988 to 1997 was an average decline in the cost of operation of $785 a year, adjusted for other factors.
- National Library of Medicine. Cost per patient was $14,469 for mitral valve replacement, and $11,606 for mitral valve repair.
- At East Carolina University, surgeons say that the hospital gets paid a fixed fee of $25,000 for the total cost of each heart-valve repair regardless of whether robotics are used.
As you can tell, the cost estimates from the medical resources significantly varied from my friend’s estimates. My friends were telling me the procedure would cost over $100,000 while the medical journals were telling me costs for mitral valve repair would be around $25,000.
Your Heart Surgery Financial Responsibility?
When you review these estimates, a fundamental question arises, “Why is there such a great variance in the estimated costs of heart valve surgery?”
When I began writing this book, there was no obvious answer to that question. Then, I conducted a good amount of research. I interviewed several medical professionals and insurance companies. Slowly, I started to understand the complexity of health care costs for heart valve surgeries including aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair.
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Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.