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Monday, February 7, 2011

Heart Transplant Cost

A heart transplant is a surgical procedure where a donor heart is taken, which replaces a diseased human heart. This procedure is a last ditch effort to help save the person who either has end stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease. In this procedure, a working heart from a recently deceased organ donor is taken and placed in the patient. The patient's own heart may be either removed or is, at times, even left in place to support the donor heart. Given below are details regarding heart transplant cost and what is the average cost of heart transplant. Read more on heart health.

When Does One Need a Heart Transplant
There are only certain cases which are ideal candidates for heart transplants. The person generally needs to have irreversible heart failure, which is leading to a very limited life expectancy. Prior to being recommended for a heart transplant, the person should have tried out every other possible medical and surgical procedure. Furthermore, these procedures should not have led to any visible improvements in the health of the patient. 

Normally, a person who has had a heart failure due to either cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease or a person who has life-threatening arrhythmias are the ones who are applicable for a organ transplant. However, a heart transplant is contraindicated in cases where the person also has other diseases, like lung, liver or kidney diseases. Vascular diseases, thromboembolism patients, patients that are suffering from insulin dependent diabetes, patients that have a high pulmonary vascular resistance, patients over the age of sixty years, patients who are on alcohol or drugs, etc. are all contraindicated when it comes to getting heart transplants.

Cost of Heart Transplant
Cutting to the chase, the average heart transplant cost comes to around USD 75,0000 - USD 79,0000. This figure includes the cost of procuring a donor heart, which alone comes to around USD 90,000. Usually, a time of one month is given to the patient, during which the patient is to stay in the hospital, and needs to prepare for the transplant. Furthermore, the post-operative care that is required to be taken into consideration for about six months comes to about USD 1,000,00. Immunosuppressive drugs will need to be taken on a regular basis, so as to prevent the chances of organ rejection. As the person is on immunosuppression drugs, the immune system of the person dips, due to which he has an increased susceptibility of contracting infections. This is the reason why doctors advise patients to stay in the intensive care unit for a prolonged time so as to counter any such risks easily.

There are many additional factors that influence heart transplant prices. These include the possibilities of post transplant complications, any added preparation of the patient for the transplant, charges of the anesthetist or visiting surgeons, charges for any prolonged hospital stay, etc. One of the major factors affecting heart transplant cost is the time that is spent in the intensive care unit.

Furthermore, one shouldn't get overwhelmed by the cost and resort to skipping clinic visits, doing blood tests or biopsies to cut back on the cost, as all these are a part of the recovery process. These are routine but vital procedures that need to be done to help increase the heart transplant life expectancy.

It is very sad that factors such as heart transplant cost are a huge hindering factor for many patients that are on their deathbeds waiting for a healthy heart. However, one shouldn't lose hope, as one can always go in for different modes of fund raising. With the help of such methods, and with a lot of support from family and friends, you should be able to pull through.

By Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Published: 2/25/2010

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