Receiving a defibrillator implant (ICD) can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000 for all expenses including surgery, the device, hospital stay, etc. That is a ballpark estimate for the United States that will vary greatly depending on your heath care coverage. In other countries, receiving a defibrillator implant will probably cost much less.
Wherever you decide to get your defib implant, be sure to check the credentials (past surgeries, patients, etc…) of the medical team who you will be working with to ensure that you receive the best possible treatment.
Maintaining a defibrillator implant can be expensive depending on your health insurance coverage and how many check-up appointments you will need per year. Typically, maintaining an implantable cardioverter defibrillator can cost between $500 to $2000 a year in the United States. If you live in an area with socialized healthcare, like the United Kingdom, your costs of maintaining an ICD will generally be much lower. ICDs will usually need to be replaced after there battery life is nearing completion (but never after the battery is depleted of course). The battery for a defibrillator implant lasts three to eight years, depending on the amount of energy needed to keep your heart stable and other factors. When you visit your health team for a regular check-up your ICD’s battery will be checked to make sure the batteries are good. When the time comes for you to replace your old ICD’s generator and battery, you will need to be admitted to the hospital for similar procedure to when you first received your implanted defibrillator. This procedure usually costs less because of the less invasive procedures needed; however, it will be quite more expensive than your past follow-up visits with your doctor because actual components of the device must be replaced and re-installed correctly.
There are avenues that you can pursue which can help lower your costs of receiving and maintaining a defibrillator implant. If you live outside of the United States, the organization Heartbeat International provides financial support for those living in impoverished conditions that are not capable of receiving an ICD without additional assistance. In the United States, healthcare programs like Medicaid may be able to provide financial assistance for you to receive an ICD. There are many non-profit programs and charities available in the U.S. and abroad that may be able to help you get an ICD. Ask around at local community centers for information on these types of healthcare assistance programs. Stay tuned for more information about this in upcoming site updates.
If you have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator that supports using Medtronic’s CareLink Network then you can minimize the time needed to go to your cardiologist through CareLink’s wireless ICD monitoring capabilities. What this service does is connect to the internet wirelessly and record the data from your defibrillator implant about your cardiac condition. This allows clinicians to monitor your cardiac health effortlessly from wherever they may be. However, there is some controversy among patients who are eligible or have this service over the lack of data available from this service for their own use and not just for their physician. Regardless of this concern, this can help you save costs by increasing communication with your health team and eliminate unnecessary doctor’s visits.
Hearing the news that you or a loved one may need a defibrillator implant can be overwhelming. There is help available that you can reach out to and try to gather the necessary resources needed for an implanted cardiac device. They may be expensive, but the bio-medical technology industry is evolving rapidly and new devices are being developed that are smaller and cost less everyday. Defibrillator implants are key for long term cardiac illness sufferers to survive deadly arrhythmia like ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF).