Artificial heart implantation surgeries are very expensive. The artificial heart alone makes up a large portion of the total cost of the surgery. With a less expensive artificial heart more patients would be able to afford the cost of the surgery, therefore more lives would be saved.
The cost of the SynCardia artificial heart is $125,000. This makes the average cost of surgery $350,000 to $400,000 (“Artificial”). This is the only option in cost for all patients other than the lucky 4,000 that are able to receive the AbioCor artificial heart. This self-sustaining AbioCor artificial heart gives patients greater comfort made and cost $75,000 to $100,000, which is significantly cheaper not only to the patient but also to the hospital to purchase. With this wirelessly charging artificial heart, the cost of surgery is decreased to an average of $350,000 (“Artificial”). This decrease in price allows for more patients to be able to afford an already extremely expensive surgery. With more patients having financial access to the surgery, more lives would be saved as more patients receive the surgery.
Being self-sustaining is a major factor in the price difference between the two synthetic hearts. With the AbioCor artificial heart, the patient only has to wear a battery pack belt that holds the wireless battery that links to the receiver inside of the patient’s body. However, in the case of the SynCardia artificial heart, the patient is wired to a 418-pound driver through wires piercing their skin that is only located in hospitals. This adds to the patient’s bill because the patient is using hospital equipment. For a patient to be able to move around outside of the hospital, the patient must purchase a Freedom Portable Driver that weighs thirteen and a half pounds and can be worn as a backpack (“Artificial”). However the Freedom Portable Driver has not yet been FDA approved, making it rare for a patient to be able to attain one of these devices. This is a highly unnecessary purchase when a patient can be given an AbioCor artificial heart that is cheaper than its competitor.
A patient that received a SynCardia artificial heart, Jim Hennigan, released a story about his experience with the SynCardia. In his story Jim said “I…pushed my 450-lb driver around the hospital.” He later went on to say, “It was sort of like a hotel stay that I couldn’t leave,” (“Patient Story”). If Jim were to have been given the AbioCor artificial heart, he would have been able to avoid pushing around the “450-lb driver” with him through the hospital. He would have also been able to leave his “hotel stay,” meaning the hospital.
The AbioCor artificial heart is the cheaper option for patients to receive. This cheaper option also allows for greater patient comfort. Furthermore, by only using a wireless battery, the patient is granted more freedom by not being hooked up to an external driver. For this patient advantage to be possible for more than 4,000 patients a year, the AbioCor artificial heart must be taken out of the investigational setting.