What About Heart Valve Surgery In India?
As many of you know, I had my heart surgery in Los Angeles, California at USC Medical Center by Dr. Vaughn Starnes. I believe I was fortunate for two reasons.
- First, I found a great surgeon.
- Secondly, I had excellent insurance. The costs of heart surgery can be very expensive. Even with my insurance, there were a number of out-of-pocket costs that were not trivial relative to my income.
For these reasons, I have learned of many patients traveling to India heart surgery centers to minimize the costs of their heart valve repair or heart valve replacement surgeries. India heart surgery is not new by any means. However, the outsourcing of heart surgery to India from foreign regions is a relatively newer alternative to minimize patient healthcare costs of medical systems in regions like the United States.
In fact, this topic is getting a lot of press lately as some major, industrial analysts see India heart surgery as a potential, big-time trend in medicine. Time Magazine recently wrote “Outsourcing Your Heart” all about India heart surgery and medical centers.
Several hospital and escort agencies exist to create demand and service heart valve replacement operations and heart valve repair operations in India heart surgery centers. For example, Escorts Heart Institute And Research Center Limited works with St. Fortis Medical to provide a full-service India heart surgery experience that includes medical care and international travel support (visa, lodging, ticketing, etc.)
Recently, I spoke with a former heart surgery patient who had his mitral valve replaced with a mechanical valve on June 6, 2007. He was a 33 year old male and had open-heart surgery done in India. The India heart surgery center he chose was Narayana Hrudayalaya.
According to this patient, the total cost of his heart valve replacement, including the procedure, stay, food and medicine came to USD $7,000. The cost with different hospitals in Bangalore could vary by 20%.
Personally, I’m not sure going to India would have been the path I would have followed if my insurance was bad or, even if, I didn’t have insurance. It’s hard to look back and say. However, there was something meaningful knowing that I could see my surgeon for “as needed” follow-up visits (which I did) and routine yearly checkups. That said, I do understand why people are considering India as an alternative resource for heart valve repair and heart valve replacement operations.
I hope this helps explains a little bit about India heart surgery centers!
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.