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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Heart Attack Treatment

Heart Attack Treatment Cost


How Much Does Heart Attack Treatment Cost?

 
low costEmergency Room Visit: $150-$3,000+average costAverage Hospitalization: $21,500 for 5.3 Dayshigh costBypass Surgery: $70,000-$200,000
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A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart becomes blocked. Unless the blood supply is quickly restored, the interruption can cause damage or even death to parts of the organ. Though heart attack is a leading killer of adults in the U.S., timely treatment can save lives and prevent long-term disabilities.

Typical costs:

  • According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, heart attack treatment works best when it's given right after symptoms[1] occur, and a patient experiencing an attack should be taken to the emergency room or transported there by ambulance.
  • For patients without health insurance, an emergency room visit typically costs $150 -$3,000 or more, depending on the severity of the condition and what diagnostic tests and treatment are performed. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket cost for an emergency room visit typically consists of a copay, usually $50 -$150 or more, which often is waived if the patient is admitted to the hospital. Depending on the plan, costs might include coinsurance of 10% to 50%.
  • In the ER, a doctor may administer a "super aspirin" such as clopidogrel (Plavix)[2] , which, according to Consumer Reports[3] typically costs $254 per month for one 75 mg pill per day. Or, an ER doctor may give the patient nitroglycerin tablets[4] , which typically cost $.20-$1.10 per pill.
  • According to theAgency for Healthcare Research and Quality[5] , the average length of hospitalization and related costs for heart attack patients is 5.3 days at $21,500 per stay. Costs for patients with insurance may include a deductible, plus 10%-20% or more of the total bill, which could easily reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum. Treatment[6] will vary depending on the severity of the condition and amount of heart damage present.
  • Patients may be treated with a category of intravenous drugs known as thrombolytics[7] or clotbusters. According to a study[8] in the medical journal Stroke, the additional costs of thrombolysis (using medication to break up and dissolve blood clots) during the first hospitalization costs approximately $5,978 per patient. Doctors may administer other drugs, including intravenous or subcutaneous forms of the anti-coagulant heparin. According to the book "Hospital Medicine"[9] by Robert M. Wachter, Lee Goldman, and Harry Hollander, this can include Dalteparin (Fragmin)[10] , which typically costs $51 a day for 100 U/kg twice daily, and Enoxaparin (Lovenox)[11] which typically costs $55 a day for 1 mg/kg twice daily. Treatment may also include drugs called beta blockers[12] , which typically cost $6 -$170 per month depending on whether a generic or brand name drug is used, or statins[13] , which according to Consumer Reports[14] , cost $35- $200 or more a month.
  • Other medical procedures that may be required include bypass?surgery (about?$70,000-$200,000); corrective?heart?surgery ($30,000-$200,000 or more);?and treatment with angioplasty?and stents?($11,000-$41,000?or more).
Related articles: Chest X-Ray, MRI, Heart Stent, Heart Surgery, Heart Bypass Surgery, Emergency Room Visit

What should be included:
  • According to the Mayo Clinic[15] an electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG, will be used to diagnose the condition.
  • Additional tests may include a chest x-ray ($200-$400 or more), echocardiogram ($1,000-$3,000 or more) or an MRI ($1,000-$5,000 or more), among other things.
  • According to the American Heart Association[16] , with proper care, healing of the heart muscle begins soon after a heart attack and takes about eight weeks.
Additional costs:
  • Following surgery, patients may require one or more sessions with a physical therapist ($50-$350 a session) to learn how to move without harming any present incisions and to learn exercises to aid recovery.
Discounts:
  • Discount outlets such as Costco[17] and Walmart[18] often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program[19] that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[20] in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount off billed charges. There is also an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of receiving a bill.
Shopping for heart attack treatment:
  • The American Heart Association offers tools and resources[21] related to heart attacks.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a hospital comparison tool[22] that lists hospitals near a chosen zip code, how far away they are and whether they offer emergency service.
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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External Resources:
  1.  www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack/signs.html
  2.  www.drugs.com/plavix.html
  3.  www.consumerreports.org/health/resources/pdf/best-buy-drugs/Antiplatelets-2pagers-FINAL...
  4.  circ.ahajournals.org/content/108/11/e78.full
  5.  www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/projections/2012-02.pdf
  6.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-attack/DS00094/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
  7.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007089.htm
  8.  stroke.ahajournals.org/content/38/1/85.full.pdf
  9.  www.amazon.com/Hospital-Medicine-Wachter/dp/0781747279
  10.  www.rxlist.com/fragmin-drug.htm
  11.  www.rxlist.com/lovenox-drug.htm
  12.  www.consumerreports.org/health/resources/pdf/best-buy-drugs/2pager_BetaBlockers.pdf
  13.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/statins.html
  14.  www.consumerreports.org/health/best-buy-drugs/statins.htm
  15.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-attack/DS00094/DSECTION=tests%2Dand%2Ddiagnosis
  16.  www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/AboutHeartAttacks/About-Heart-Attacks_UCM...
  17.  www2.costco.com/Service/FeaturePage.aspx?ProductNo=11486072&srchKeyword=pharmacy
  18.  www.walmart.com/cp/5431?povid=cat1070145-env172199-module051812-lLinkGNAV_PHARMACY_DEPT
  19.  www.walmart.com/cp/1078664
  20.  www.sjo.org/For-Patients/Your-Hospital-Bill/Self-Pay-Discount-Program.aspx
  21.  www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-To...
  22.  /www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/
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