We may often hear the terms angiography, angiogram, and arteriogram in the medical field not knowing that they may mean the same thing; they are all diagnostic procedures that outline blood vessels in various parts of the body. They identify if there are narrowings or blockages by injecting a radio-opaque substance into the blood vessels and viewed through different X-ray techniques. In fact, the procedures are the same regardless of what part of the body is being subjected.
Angiography has several uses that include the visualization of coronary arteries, tiny blood vessels, arteries and veins in the brain as well as identification of leg vessels in people who usually get cramps.
These different blood vessels are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to and from the heart and to the entire parts of the body. When a blood vessel is blocked or has narrowed, some parts of the body may be deprived of the nutrients they need in order to survive. This would lead to the death of the deprived cells. And we would certainly hope they are not cells in some vital organs of the body like the heart, brain, lungs, etc. Otherwise, we are doomed. Unless, of course, we traced and treated it just in time, which is the primary objective of angiography.
With such risk involved if these issues are left untreated, you would be concerned if you are experiencing symptoms. But another issue worth looking at as well as how much would angiography test cost.
Average Cost of Angiography
With its various purposes, expect the angiogram cost to have a very wide range which could be as low as $340 up to as high as $63,700, depending on the body part that needs to be examined and the medical facility where the procedure will be conducted.
Here are the national minimal, average and maximum costs of angiography as presented by New Choice Health:
- Abdominal Angiography
- Average – $6,400
- Minimum – $1,750
- Maximum – $19,400
- Adrenal Gland Angiography
- Average – $4,800
- Minimum – $340
- Maximum – $47,900
- Arm Angiography
- Average – $4,000
- Minimum – $340
- Maximum – $16,400
- Chest Angiography
- Average – $6,200
- Minimum – $1,650
- Maximum – $18,500
- Head and Neck Angiography
- Average – $18,600
- Minimum – $1,800
- Maximum – $36,500
- Kidney Angiography
- Average – $19,800
- Minimum – $1,800
- Maximum – $41,700
- Spine Angiography
- Average – $18,800
- Minimum – $1,750
- Maximum – $33,700
- Blood Vessel Angiography
- Average – $33,600
- Minimum – $1,450
- Maximum – $63,700
If you are from the Michigan state and considered to be low to intermediate-risk, you might find a very affordable alternative to the conventional Angiography services. These are called CT angiography which is a non-invasive procedure offered at Beaumont.org.
Below are their prices for uninsured patients paying in cash:
- CT Angiography Abdomen with Contrast and Post Processing – $666
- CT Angiography Chest with Contrast and Post Processing – $679
- CT Angiography Head with Contrast and Post Processing – $640
- CT Angiography Lower Extremity with Contrast and Post Processing– $640
- CT Angiography Neck with Contrast and Post Processing – $588
- CT Angiography Pelvis with Contrast and Post Processing – $666
- CT Angiography Upper Extremity with Contrast and Post Processing – $640
What is Included
Like most surgical procedures, the angiography cost would include the following components:
- The cost of the procedure – this includes the value of the procedure itself consisting of catheter placement, the injection of the dye, and the professional fee of either the doctor or the technician doing the angiography.
- The facility – this includes the cost of the imaging room usage as well as the imaging machine or the use of the special x-ray, whether performed in a hospital or in a diagnostic clinic.
- The dye – this includes the cost of the dye injected into the blood vessels to aid in the detection of any blockages and narrowings in them.
Doing it for the first time? These are what to expect from paying the angiogram cost:
- You would be asked to lie down and relax on an X-ray table. You would then be injected with an intravenous or IV so that supplemental fluids can enter the body system. Sometimes, you would be given sedatives to keep you calm and some electrodes would be strategically placed around your chest to monitor your heart.
- Normally, a medical device called catheter would be inserted into one of the veins near the elbow. Then, it is pushed further up to get into the blood vessels, going to the area where the examination is needed. After such procedure, the physician will inject a contrast dye, then X-rays or angiograms are taken from several angles.
- While the angiography is going on, the doctor may administer treatments like removing the blood vessel’s blockage or stopping the bleeding within the body system necessary.
- The whole procedure of angiography can be completed within one to three hours. If immediately stabilized, you could go home after the examination. However, there are cases when the patient has to stay longer in the hospital for further checkup or examinations.
Other costs related to angiogram that may be recommended by your physician which may help detect the illness and support or correlate with the imaging results are the following:
- Chest x-ray – $50 to $400
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) – $400 to $500
- Blood test (Lipid profile) – $50 to $100
- Nuclear stress test – $4,000 or more
On the other hand, once a diagnosis has been given, there may be some procedures that would be prescribed to address the issue diagnosed which is likely a blockage or narrowing. In which case, typical additional procedures required are the following:
- Placement of stent – $15,000 to $50,000
- Bypass surgery – $70,000 to $200,000
One of the major causes of blockages and narrowings in our blood vessels is the high cholesterol levels in the blood. To keep these levels at bay, the number one practice you must do is to eat right. If you do not know where to start, there are certain books that tackle how to lower your cholesterol levels. The Cholesterol Down: Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in Four Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs available at Amazon.
But if you are not the type who would keep up with the discipline of following a regimen, taking supplements that lower cholesterol levels might just be perfect for you. One perfect example is the Cholesterol Destroyer which helps lower LDL and Triglyceride.
Shopping for Angiography
Normally, if you are coming off a checkup with your general physician or specialist and you are required to undergo an angiography procedure, expect to be referred to an imaging clinic or hospital. If budget is not an issue to you, regardless of whether you have insurance or not, then you are all set.
For uninsured patients, medical imaging procedures such as angiogram or arteriogram can be very costly. Especially so with the lack of enough research, they would likely take any amount a facility would quote not knowing that are cheaper alternatives if only they just try a little harder to locate the most affordable services.
Factors Affecting Angiography Test Cost
Part of the body – as apparent in the prices presented above, the amount you need to pay for the procedure highly depends on the part of the body that needs a diagnosis. The arm angiography being the cheapest and the blood vessel angiography posting the highest cost of all the body parts.
Facility – your choice of the facility where the procedure is to be performed would hugely affect your overall cost as these facilities charge differently and with a wide range at that. So this is where your researching skills would play an important part. Sometimes, if you are insured, it is even advantageous to choose a facility that would help you coordinate with your insurance provider as most of the time, a few hundred dollars difference is way better than having to deal with all the hassles of coordinating with your provider which would try to elude paying your procedure every chance they get.
Who performs the procedure – due to the sensitivity of the procedure, a physician is usually the one performing it in place of a radiology technician. And as always, the level of expertise and experience that a doctor has would always be a factor in the pricing of the procedure.
Location – the cost of living and the cost of doing business in a particular location would, as always, play a big role in the cost of any medical services.
Insurance – in most cases, the cost of angiography is covered by insurance if performed with the purpose of diagnosing or treating an illness. Insurance providers typically cover 10% up to 50% and could be more depending on the policy so it is always necessary to understand your coverage and be in constant communication with your provider to ensure that you are maximizing your benefits.
Mode of settlement – money definitely talks. And why not? Uninsured patients are typically given up to 35% discount if they pay in cash on the spot.
Insurance network – having an insurance is one thing. Choosing a facility that is within the network of your insurance provider is another thing. Whenever possible, choose in-network facilities as they tend to charge lower than their counterpart. This also lessens the possibility of you paying higher out-of-pocket expenses when the procedure is only covered up to a certain percentage of the cost.
Preparations Before Angiography
If you need to have an angiogram, here are the things you need to prepare before you get to the medical facility where the examination is going to take place.
- Inform the doctor if you are pregnant or had just given birth. As much as possible, provide formulated milk for your child for one to two days if you breastfeed your baby.
- Do fasting from 12 midnight if the test is to be performed in the morning. But if the procedure is to be performed in the afternoon, then make sure you do not consume anything within four to eight hours before the procedure is conducted.
- Seek your doctor’s advice if you can take your maintenance medicines in the morning.
- If you have a case or history of asthma, bleeding or kidney problems, then make sure to tell your doctor.
- As much as possible, place your medications inside their original containers when you go to the hospital. Doing this before the test will remind you to tell your doctor about the specific medications you are currently taking or that may trigger your allergies. In relation to this, tell your doctor if your allergies will surface due to iodine or shellfish. The dye contains iodine and other chemicals that may cause allergic reactions similar to the occurrence when eating shellfish.
- Someone may take your blood before the procedure begins.
- You will be asked to take off your jewelry and remove your contact lenses as well as hair clips.
- Make sure you urinate since the test may take several hours to finish.