David Neth wrote us he’s feeling fine after his recent A-Fib catheter ablation for persistent A-Fib by the French Bordeaux Group [Drs. Michel Haïssaguerre, Pierre Jais and and Meleze Hocini at the Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut Lévêque-(CHU) de Bordeaux]. The Bordeaux Group has the most international experience in ablating persistent A-Fib and uses the ECGI/ECVUE mapping and ablation system. For example, they do 2 persistent A-Fib ablations per day.
We had just updated our article on the Bordeaux Group, and I was curious how the cost compared to an ablation in the US. Here’s what David shared:
Total hospital payment for his 5-day stay was €16,598 (US exchange rate=$ 19,251)
Payment covered: the procedure, operating room charges, all medication and testing, doctors and hospital charges and a private room (including a second bed and 2 extra meals per day for spouse). There were no other charges.
Of course, David had to pay for personal transportation and local living costs.
Putting the Costs in Perspective
In recent years, David had two unsuccessful ablations for his Atrial Fibrillation at the University of Washington Hospital that each cost close to $75,000. His healthcare insurance negotiated the rate down to $48,000 (of which he had to pay $3,500 each time – his annual deductible).
Before booking his procedure in Bordeaux, his Medicare Advantage Supplemental insurance company incorrectly assured him his coverage included “out of country” medical treatment. Sadly, it turned out that this only applied for “emergency services” and their call center had misinformed him.
David shared his thoughts about his out-of-pocket costs:
“I don’t have a large savings and this [Bordeaux ablation] depleted much of it (since I also paid airfare and several nights hotel costs for 3 of us), but I’d have zero hesitancy to do it again if it were necessary.
At $19,251 US, I feel that’s a small price to pay for cutting edge, successful service!”
[Note: In contrast, my ablation in Bordeaux in 1998 was covered by my health insurance the same as if the procedure had been in the US.]
To contact the Bordeaux Group, read my updated article on the Bordeaux Group.
The Bordeaux Group: Best in the World for A-Fib Patients!
Think of it—$20,000 for treatment by the best EPs in the world.
Dr. Michel Häissaguerre and his colleagues invented catheter ablation for A-Fib (Pulmonary Vein Isolation). Today their cutting edge research includes using CardioInsight’s noninvasive Electrocardiographic Imaging (ECGI) to map and ablate persistent A-Fib. (ECGI, available only in Europe at this time, will probably revolutionize how ablations are mapped and performed.) Currently at Bordeaux, ECGI is not used in cases of simple, recent-onset paroxysmal (occasional) A-Fib.
(Added February 3, 2017: Medtronic’s CardioInsight Noninvasive 3D Mapping System (ECGI) has received FDA clearance for use in the U.S. Dr. Vivek Reddy at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City was the first to use the system.)