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Factors Affecting Echocardiogram Cost

Factors Affecting Echocardiogram Cost

An echocardiogram is a non-invasive imaging procedure wherein high-frequency sound waves are used for observing the images of the heart on a monitor. This HealthHearty article provides information on the factors affecting the cost of an echocardiogram.
HealthHearty Staff
At times, a standard cardiac echo is unable to provide conclusive results. Under such circumstances, further testing is required, which contributes to the overall cost.

An echocardiogram is a diagnostic procedure that can help in determining the pumping function of the heart, the size of the chambers, the functioning of the valves, etc. With this test, doctors are able to observe abnormalities in the structure or functioning of the valves, muscles, and chambers of the heart. It can also be conducted on pregnant women to detect congenital heart defects in their unborn baby.

Basically, this test makes use of sound waves to accurately view images of the beating heart. This imaging procedure is considered to be safer than an X-ray examination, as the patient is not exposed to radiation.

The cost of an echocardiogram ranges between USD 1,000 and USD 3,000. This figure may or may not include the fee of USD 300 to USD 400 that the cardiologist charges for interpreting the echocardiogram test reports. There are several factors that influence the cost of this test. These factors are listed in the following sections.

Factors Influencing Echocardiogram Cost

Insurance
The cost of an echocardiogram is covered completely or partially by most health insurance plans, only when it is used to diagnose a heart problem. Individuals covered by health insurance might have to shell out a copay or coinsurance of 10%-50% for an echocardiogram. If the individual is generally in good health, with no signs of heart disease, and the test is conducted as a routine test, it will not be covered by insurance. Most insurance plans have limitations regarding the hospitals or clinics that can provide services. So, make sure that you go through the insurance plan to learn about the hospitals or doctors you could go to.

Type of Test
Basically, the cost of this test is high, as the medical equipment required for cardiac echo is quite expensive. The cost would also vary, depending on the procedure employed. The type of procedure would depend on the type of details that the doctor is looking for. An echocardiogram is categorized into the following types:

Transthoracic Echocardiogram
This is a standard test, which would cost anywhere between USD 1,500 and USD 2,000.

Stress Echocardiogram
This test is conducted as the patient exercises on a treadmill or an exercise bike. It might cost anywhere between USD 1,500 and USD 3,500.

Doppler Echocardiogram
Typically, a transthoracic echocardiogram that uses the Doppler technique may cost you somewhere around USD 800. However, the cost could vary from region to region.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram
For the purpose of clarity and accurate diagnosis, a scope may be inserted down the esophagus during an echocardiogram test. This may increase the cost further. This procedure could cost USD 2,000 and above.

Type of Medication Used
This test may require sedation. The use of sedatives raises the overall cost of the test. Also, intravenous injections are given to distinguish the tissue from blood, which makes it easier to analyze the images. These factors bear an influence on the cost.

Cardiologist's Charges
Your test results need to be interpreted and analyzed by a cardiologist, who will charge anywhere between USD 300 and USD 400. The cost of the test, in most cases, does not cover the cardiologist's fee.

Technician's Charges
The technician conducting the test will levy a charge for the service rendered. This may vary, depending upon the location of the hospital, and the type of test that has been conducted.

Hospital Facilities and Location
The cost of an echocardiogram varies from state to state. It also differs, depending upon the facilities and expertise offered by the hospital. Specialist hospitals tend to charge more than general hospitals.

It can be difficult to estimate the cost of an echocardiogram, as it depends on several factors. So, to get the best deal, do conduct a little research in the clinics and hospitals in your locality, or even online. Do remember to check their credentials, before you come to a decision.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.