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What Factors Affect the Cost of an Angiogram?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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The cost of an angiogram can depend on the technique the doctor uses, whether other procedures occur at the same time, and the area of the body under investigation. Health care costs can also vary considerably between nations and providers. Patients with concerns about cost can discuss them with a physician to determine if there is a cost effective option that will meet the need. They may also want to discuss pre-approval with an insurance company, if they have insurance, to ensure that costs are fully covered.

Several techniques can be used to perform an angiogram, where a detailed image of the vascular structures inside the patient is generated. The traditional or conventional angiogram requires the patient to undergo catheterization so the technician can inject a tracer material and take some x-rays to watch the material move through the blood vessels. It is also possible to use computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for an angiogram. The technique used can have a significant impact on the cost of an angiogram.

The traditional technique is invasive and may require overnight hospitalization. It tends to be costly because the patient needs a pre-screening appointment and the catheterization requires special skills. The risk of side effects can also be higher. CT and MRI angiography are less invasive and may cost less. They also require less time and the patient can typically go home afterwards.

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Another issue that can change the cost of an angiogram is whether the doctor performs a procedure during the test. The doctor may intervene to remove a clot, place a stent, or engage in another activity. The resulting bill will be higher because more services were provided. On the other hand, getting treatment at the time of the test can be less expensive than having to return for treatment at a future date. Patients may want to consider this if the cost of an angiogram seems high.

The location can also play a role. Imaging costs tend to vary across different areas of the body. Some are more difficult than others and may require special skills when it comes to interpreting the resulting images. Patients who have had multiple angiograms may notice that the cost differs between procedures even when they are performed using the same technique. Others factors that can add to the cost of an angiogram include the need for sedation or monitoring in the case of a patient in distress.

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