Coronary angioplasty is a medical procedure aiming to treat artery diseases such as atherosclerosis and heart attack. Its main objective is to get rid of narrow arteries that obstruct the blood flow to and from the heart. That said, at what point is the heart stent relevant?
Well, the stent is the small tube doctors insert in the artery to support its inner walls following an angioplasty. This foreign object, which works like a scaffold, helps prevent arteries from narrowing again.
That said, how much does an angioplasty stent cost? And what is the price of the procedure itself?
Average Heart Stent Price
To understand the heart stent price, you should know the average angioplasty stent cost. According to Medigo.com, that is about $28,000 to $30,000. However, this can go as low as $15,000 depending on your location in the US.
These figures are backed by the fair price posted by the Healthcare Bluebook. According to the site, most American patients will pay about $27,120 for an angioplasty.
Cost Details And Factors
The cost of the procedure generally includes the following:
- Fees for the facility
- Anesthesia fees (local anesthesia is usually used)
- Physician services
- The cost of the stent (as you will also pay for the said tube)
- The number of stents (if you need more than one device)
The prices of the above cost components, furthermore, will be affected by some factors. Basically, that will include your location, hospital/surgery center, and insurance coverage. Your condition before and during the procedure may also affect the price.
Heart Stent Cost
The heart stent cost will depend on the type of the tube. There are two common types, namely:
- Bare-metal stent (BMS)
- Drug-eluting stent (DES, developed to prevent the arteries from narrowing again years after the procedure)
Majority of patients in the US prefer a procedure that uses the DES as it’s more cost-effective. Also, the said device has a lesser potential for risks. At present, the DES generally prices at $1,200.
Some patients prefer to get treatment abroad due to the lower prices. For instance, the estimated cost of an angioplasty in India is $6,523. The low price is thanks to a pricing cap on stents that is being implemented by the Indian government.
Other countries that have cheaper angioplasty costs include:
- Poland: $3,950
- Spain: $12,312
- United Arab Emirates: $13,027
- Israel: $13,500
- Germany: $17,000
Tips For Medical Tourism
Flying to another country to seek health care is not as smooth-sailing as having it at home. That said, you should make sure to prepare everything you need before you leave. Here are some tips:
- Research as much information as you can. Remember that you’re visiting a foreign country you know little about. That said, research about your options first and inquire with your target hospitals. This way, you can determine which among the medical providers abroad can offer cost-effective health care.
- Plan your trip accordingly. Once you’ve established your hospital choice, book your flight in a way that you’ll have enough leeway before and after your surgery. Also, do not forget to secure your accommodation before flying.
- Bring a companion. Having some company during and after your surgery is an effective physical and emotional support.
- Secure your medical records. You will be using/presenting important documents during your hospital visit, so it’s more practical to keep them handy. Do not include such papers in checked baggage as you might lose them.
- See your primary health care provider after your surgery. This should be your first step once you return home, as it is important that an expert monitors you post-procedure. Doing this step will ensure that you will remain stable after the angioplasty.
Where To Look For Stents
There are several suppliers of stents in the US. Based on a list from Medical Expo, you can ask the price quotes of the following brands online:
- Inspire MD
- Boston Scientific
- Abbott Vascular
The above companies don’t post prices online as the cost of the stents will vary based on certain specifications. For instance, Boston Scientific included a list of sizes of their DES. Of course, varying sizes equate to varying costs.
Similarly, most service providers do not post their pricing online. Nevertheless, the cost of the procedure will depend on what brand of stents they use.
Angioplasty With Insurance
One way to save money for the payment of angioplasty is to make use of your insurance plan. Most plans will shoulder the payment to the doctor, provided that they are in-network providers. An “in-network provider” pertains to a medical provider that has a contract with your insurance company.
The amount that your insurance company will pay depends on its agreement with your provider. For instance, Medicare spends around $15,000 as payment for each procedure.
Aside from the agreement between your insurance company and provider, you will also have to consider premiums, deductibles, and copays, among others. That said, you should first clarify what your plan covers.
What To Expect
Once on the operation table, your anesthesiologist will administer a local anesthesia to numb the incision area. This will lead to mild sedation, meaning you’ll be awake. After receiving fluids and medications aiming to relax you, your surgeon will begin the procedure.
Expect the operation to take only about one to two hours as it does not involve major incisions. This is given that you only need one stent. Otherwise, the procedure will take longer.
After the operation, you’d likely stay in the hospital for a day so that your doctor can monitor your heart and adjust your medications. You should be able to return to work or your normal routine a week after the procedure. This timeline, though, applies to non-emergency cases.
That said, the recovery period for patients who needed an angioplasty due to a heart attack will take longer.
Remember that not all patients undergoing angioplasty need a heart stent. If you have doubts despite your doctor’s recommendation to have one, seek for a second opinion. At times, some people might not need stenting but a totally different procedure for another condition.