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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart Bypass Surgery Cost

How Much Does Heart Bypass Surgery Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: Copay + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $70,000-$200,000+
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In heart bypass surgery, a blood vessel from another part of the body is used to create a detour around a blockage in an artery so blood and oxygen can reach the heart. It might be used to treat coronary artery disease after other treatments, such as medication or angioplasty, have been tried. Risks include reaction to anesthesia, infection, blood loss, blood clots, heart attack or stroke, memory problems and death.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays and coinsurance of 10%-50% or more, which could easily reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum. Heart bypass surgery typically is covered by health insurance when medically necessary.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, heart bypass surgery typically costs about $70,000-$200,000 or more. Costs depend on the facility, but tend to be on the lower end without complications and on the higher end with complications. For example, St. Mary's Hospital[1] in Wisconsin charges about $71,000. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center[2] in New Hampshire charges about $94,000, including doctor fee, after a 30% uninsured discount. Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[3] in Nebraska charges about $90,000-$110,000, not including the doctor fee. And Baptist Memorial Health Care in Tennessee typically charges about $75,000-$115,000, not including doctor fee, but cost can increase to $215,000 or more with major complications. A surgeon fee can add $5,000 or more to the final bill.
  • According to an American Heart Association report[4] , the average hospital charge for heart bypass surgery -- not including doctor fee -- is $117,094.
Related articles: Angiogram, Blood Clot Treatment, Heart Surgery, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • In coronary artery bypass grafting, also known as heart bypass surgery[5] , the patient is placed under general anesthesia and hooked up to a heart-lung bypass machine that does the work of the heart. The surgeon then removes a blood vessel from one part of the patient's body -- such as the chest, legs or arm -- and attaches it to the coronary artery to bypass the blockage.
  • If the surgeon bypasses more than one artery in the heart, the operation might be referred to as a double, triple or quadruple bypass. Recovery[6] requires a hospital stay of about six to seven days or longer, and about six to eight weeks off from work.
Additional costs:
  • Patients typically require one or more sessions of physical therapy to learn how to move without harming the incision and to learn exercises to assist recovery. This typically costs $50-$350 per session. The University of Washington Medical Center Cardiac Surgery Clinic has information on physical therapy[7] after heart surgery.
  • Drugs prescribed after bypass surgery might include a blood thinning medication such as warfarin (brand name Coumadin) or Plavix to prevent blood clots, a beta-blocker to slow the heart rate, a statin to lower cholesterol and an ACE inhibitor to control blood pressure and heart failure. At, Warfarin typically costs about $15-$25 per month for the generic, depending on the dose, or $50- $70 for the brand name, and Plavix costs about $200 or more per month. Beta-blockers[8] and statins[9] can cost $10-$200 a month, depending on the drug. And ACE inhibitors[10] can cost $10-$100 per month.
  • Many hospitals give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[11] in California offers a 35% discount.
Shopping for heart bypass surgery:
  • A cardiologist can provide a referral to a cardiothoracic surgeon. Or, the CardioThoracic Surgery Network offers a state-by-state surgeon locator[12] . A cardiothoracic surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and should have completed a general surgery residency and a residency in cardiothoracic surgery.
  • It is important to ask the surgeon about all treatment options, risks and if there are alternatives to surgery. WebMD has a guide for patients[13] trying to decide whether to have heart bypass surgery or pursue alternatives such as angioplasty.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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