Heart Transplant cost in Singapore

A heart transplant, also known as a cardiac transplant, is a highly sensitive procedure that involves the replacement of diseased heart with a healthy, donor heart. This treatment is mostly advised to patients with the end-stage cardiac disease or several coronary artery diseases that cannot be treated with the help of any other intervention. A heart transplant is a rare procedure that is performed at some of the most advanced and technically competent hospitals in the world.

Heart Transplant in Singapore

There are several hospitals in Singapore that offer heart transplant to patients with end-stage heart disease. The country is known for its quality of medical treatment and when it comes to a heart transplant, the best hospitals in Singapore rank among the top hospitals in the world that are known to conduct this procedure in an extremely cautious and careful manner. This procedure is performed by some of the most experienced and skilled cardiac surgeons in the country who are educated and trained from globally renowned medical universities.

Cost Comparison

Singapore is one of the most cost-effective destinations for heart transplant among other popular medical tourism destinations. It is estimated that the heart transplant cost in Singapore is as much as 80 percent less than what it costs in the US. The cost of heart transplant in Singapore, however, depends on several factors, including the cost of surgery, surgeon’s fees hospital charged, the cost of medicines and other consumables, and whether the procedure is conducted along with lung transplant.

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About the Heart Transplant

A heart transplantation is required in patients with a diseased heart. It is often recommended to patients whose heart function does not improve even after surgeries and continuous and prolonged use of medications. During the heart transplant procedure, the diseased heart is replaced with a fully functional heart. The heart used for replacement is retrieved from a patient who is brain-dead but is still on a life support system.

Because of the unavailability of a sufficient number of brain-dead donors, heart transplant surgery is still a rare procedure, even though it is a life-saving procedure. Moreover, there are just a handful of families who agree to donate the heart of their close ones because of aesthetic reasons. Even though heart transplant procedure is a major one, the chances of survival after the surgery is generally good. However, heart transplant survival rate largely depends on how well the patient has been taken care of after the surgery. Heart transplant surgery is mostly performed in patients with heart failure, which may happen because of any of the following conditions:

  • Cardiomyopathy or weakening of the heart muscles
  • Previously failed heart transplant procedure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiac valve disease
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Amyloidosis
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Heart transplantation surgery is often coupled with the transplant of some other organ in patients with specific conditions. These organs may include kidney, liver, or lung, depending on the condition of the patient and the ailment he or she is suffering from. Not every heart patients, however, is eligible to undergo the heart transplant surgery. Patients with a previous history of cancer, a major illness that would anyway shorten their lifespan, active infection, advanced age, or unhealthy lifestyle habits are not recommended to undergo heart transplant surgery.

How is Heart Transplant performed?

The following steps are typically performed during the heart transplant surgery:

  • You will receive general anaesthesia so that you remain asleep during the surgery. Anesthesia ensures that you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
  • As the heart transplant procedure is performed on a non-beating heart, you will be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine. This machine takes over the functioning of the normal blood circulation temporarily.
  • The surgeons will make an incision in your chest and separate the chest bone to open the rib cage. This will expose your heart.
  • The diseased heart is removed and replaced with the donor’s heart. All of the major blood vessels are connected to the donor’s heart.
  • The heart starts beating as soon as you are removed from the artificial heart-lung bypass machine.
  • The surgeons may deliver a shock to the donor’s heart to make it beat if required.
  • The chest is sewn back once the beating of the donor’s heart is restored.

Recovery from Heart Transplant

You may expect to receive a couple of medications after the surgery to ease the pain. You may also be kept on a ventilator for a few hours or days to ease beating. Additionally, a chest tube may be put to drain fluids from the chest. You may also expect to receive fluids through IV following the surgery.

Recovery after heart transplantation surgery is slow. You will be required to visit the surgeon for frequent follow-ups. They will advise you to undergo a series of tests every time you visit, including echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, and blood tests. You will also be required to undergo heart biopsies to check for signs of organ rejection. During a biopsy, a pathologist will look into a tiny heart tissue under a microscope. Additionally, you will be required to make several long-term adjustments into your schedule after you’ve had a heart transplant. You will be required to take immunosuppressants and make adjustments for medications. You will require an intensive emotional support during cardiac rehabilitation. Therefore, make sure to have your near and dead ones around you during the recovery phase.

You will also be advised to make several adjustments to your lifestyle to speed up recovery. This includes guidelines pertaining to exercising, healthy diet, sunscreen use, and tobacco consumption.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Heart Transplant Surgery take place in Singapore?

Heart transplant in Singapore is mostly renowned because of the advanced technologies used. The procedure, though complex, is performed by globally recognized surgeons who are celebrated for their in-detail analysis and implementation of necessary procedures. The procedures followed in heart transplant surgeries are:

  • After changing into the operation gown, the candidate is provided with IV lines or intravenous lines on the upper limb for injecting IV fluids and medications. 

  • Catheters are provided and attached to the wrist, collarbone, neck, or groin region in order to closely observe the blood circulation rate. This also facilitates the testing of blood samples readily. 

  • A Foley catheter is inserted into the urinary bladder for containing the urine. For draining the gastrointestinal fluids, a separate tube is attached to the stomach.

  • The candidate is shaved or clipped of any chest hair, and the patient is then subjected to anesthesia.

  • The candidate is made to artificially breathe via a ventilator, the tube of which is attached to the lungs.

  • The blood pressure, blood oxygen, and the heart rate is monitored by the anesthesiologist.

  • After sterilizing the skin, a vertical incision is made on the skin right above the sternum, stretching from an inch below the Adam's Apple to an inch before the navel. 

  • The sternum is symmetrically slit vertically and separated to expose your heart. 

  • Tubes mimicking the blood veins and arteries are supplied and connected to the cardiopulmonary bypass device which stores the blood for the time being. The affected heart is then removed keeping the pulmonary vein and the posterior wall of the artery intact.

  • Once the donor's heart is sewed in position, the device gradually diverts the blood back to the body and the tubes are removed. 

  • The heart may start beating naturally or may be triggered by shock paddles which act as the pacemaker. The beats are then followed by the SA node and picked up by the AV node normally.

  • The donor's heart is closely monitored for sometime henceforth which, the sternum and the skin are stitched back to position gradually, and bandaged.

  • The tubes and catheters are also removed.

Who is the best candidate for Heart Transplant Surgery?

Heart transplant in Singapore is performed after verifying the candidacy of the patient carefully. The determining factors that make an individual best candidate for heart transplant surgery are:

  • Terminal stage or minimum hopes of survival with the diseased heart.

  • Failure of all possible prior medications and treatments that have been implemented.

  • The candidate shows adequate health apart from the heart anomaly.

  • The candidate is free from life-threatening or long-term illness or terminal illness.

  • The candidate is capable of adhering to timely post-surgery treatments and medical supervision.

What are the best hospitals for Heart Transplant in Singapore?

The hospitals offering heart transplant in Singapore have been serving mankind for decades. These hospitals are supremely decorated with cutting-edge technology for providing extreme efficiency. Paired with globally acclaimed surgeons, the hospitals are furnished with multispecialty facilities and luxurious stay.

  • Mount Elizabeth Hospital

  • Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

  • Parkway East Hospital

What is the average cost of Heart Transplant in Singapore?

The cost of a heart transplant is determined by the number of laboratory tests, transportation cost, organ storage, medical facilities and a lot more. Heart transplant cost in Singapore is quite affordable as compared to the major countries like the USA and the UK. While the latter is reported to charge approximately $1,40,000, Singapore offers an affordable rate of USD $56,827 on average. 

What is the recovery time after Heart Transplant surgery?

Post-surgery, the candidate is observed in the hospital for 10 days to two weeks depending on the complexity. Hence, they are also advised to remain within thirty minutes of driving radius from the hospital for approximately five to six months. However, the candidate is said to completely recover after four to six or above months depending on the complications.

What is the success rate of Heart Transplant in Singapore?

In spite of affordable heart transplant costs in Singapore, the quality of the heart of the medical facilities is never compromised. With the help of topmost surgeons and advanced technology, the heart transplant survival rate in Singapore is estimated to be 80% in the primary stages, with candidates surpassing 15-20 years of added lifespan.

Why should I consider Singapore over other destinations for Heart Transplant?

Heart transplant in Singapore shall be considered because it is:

  • Affordable compared to other countries providing similar facilities

  • Performed by proficient surgeons with decades of experience

  • Furnished with progressed and up-to-date technology

  • Facilitated with unparalleled medical assistance

  • Paired with extreme hospitality and through observation.

What are the risk factors associated with heart transplant surgery in Singapore?

Even though almost all operations project some risk factors, the ones attached to heart transplants should be closely monitored. Hence, the possible risk factors are:

  • Blood loss during or post-operative measures

  • Infection, even after regular administration of anti-infective drugs

  • Formation of blood clots which may lead to cardiac arrest or stroke

  • Breathing difficulty

  • Thickening or hardening of the arteries known as Coronary Allograft Vasculopathy

  • Rejection of the donor’s heart

FAQ's Related to Singapore

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in Singapore?

Joint Commission International is known as the world leader in healthcare accredition and the hospitals in Singapore are also apprised by this agency. Healthcare quality and patient safety parameters are assessed by the Joint Commission International or JCI. Joint Commission International apprises hospital in Singapore on Organisation management and those hospitals that make the cut are the ones most sought after by everyone. The most stringent international standards are followed by the JCI or Joint Commission International in order to give hospitals in Singapore the accredition.

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in Singapore?

The popular multi specialty hospital groups in Singapore are as follows

  1. Mount Elizabeth Hospital
  2. Raffles Hospital
  3. National University Hospital
  4. Gleneagles Hospital
  5. Singapore General Hospital
  6. Changi General Hospital
  7. Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Centre
  8. Tan Tock Seng Hospital
  9. Parkway Hospitals Singapore

The patient ecosystem that frequents the popular multispecialty hospitals in Singapore is made up of international patients because of the high quality of medical care available. A wide coverage of specialties and the best of medical specialists looking after the patients is a benchmark of the popular multispecialty hospitals in Singapore. In the popular multispecialty hospitals in Singapore you get the best of medical treatment in short waiting times.

Why should I opt for healthcare in Singapore?

The high standards of healthcare infrastructure which is the identity of the healthcare ecosystem in Singapore is a good reason for you to choose Singapore as your treatment destination. The highest quality of comprehensive care and high precision of clinical outcomes are aimed for by healthcare professionals and healthcare providers in Singapore. The fact that Singapore healthcare system is synonymous with high degree of commitment to provide service to their patients is the reason one must opt for healthcare in Singapore. The ease of travel and access to quality healthcare are the reasons that make Singapore an attractive medical tourism destination.

What is the quality of doctors in Singapore?

Thorough professionals with great degree of practical knowledge in their area of specialisation is how the doctors in Singapore are defined. Precision and efficiency of treatment are the focus areas of the doctors in Singapore and assessed on these parameters Singapore can be said to have great quality of doctors. The doctors in Singapore are treating patients from different nationalities and cultures on a daily basis giving them a true international experience. The quality of doctors in Singapore can be defined by the fact that they have been educated from the best of the institutions in the world and are very skilled in their work.

When traveling to Singapore for medical treatment, what essential documents do I need to carry along?

We bring to you the list of documents needed for your medical travel to Singapore:

  1. Medical Records and Reports describing your medical condition
  2. Communication from the hospital and/or the doctor that has referred you
  3. Passport
  4. Treatment Plan and Frequency of treatment
  5. Fit to travel confirmation
  6. To and Fro travel tickets
  7. Visa relevant to your visit as a medical traveller to Singapore
  8. Proof of financial means for travel and treatment
  9. Credit Card/Debit Card/Valid internet banking account in Singapore

While you are planning your journey to Singapore as a medical traveller, it is important that you create a checklist of the documents that you need to carry. The documents that you need to carry for your medical treatment to Singapore will be consisting of your financial standing, your travel related documents and the ones that are related to your medical condition. The travel documents that you are carrying with you should cover your requirements as a medical tourist which will make your treatment, stay and travel back as streamlined as possible.

What are the popular procedures available in Singapore?

Please find below the popular procedures that are regularly done in Singapore:

  1. Dentistry
  2. Orthopedics
  3. Cardiology
  4. Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery
  5. Ophthalmology

Cardiology procedures have long been the forte of healthcare providers in Singapore owing to their expertise stemming from the best of education and training in performing these procedures. The precision and efficiency shown by doctors in the hospitals in Singapore in performing Orthopaedic surgery procedures has meant that they are one of the most popular procedures in Singapore. Let us have a look at the popular cosmetic surgery procedures being performed in Singapore:

  1. Liposuction
  2. Rhinoplasty
  3. Face Lift
  4. Breast Augmentation
  5. Blepharoplasty
What are the other facilities provided by hospitals in Singapore?

The major hospitals in Singapore ensure that the stay is comfortable not just for the patient but even the people accompanying them by providing a number of additional facilities. Hospitals in Singapore are constantly putting efforts in making your travel and transfer seamless by providing you facilities such as:

  1. Accommodation
  2. Flight Booking
  3. Airport Transfers
  4. Interpreter

Private insurance is available in hospitals in Singapore as well as private payment gateways thus easing your medical travel to Singapore. The hospitals in Singapore focus on patient centric care by conducting health screening programmes, dietitians and pharmacies within hospital premises.

What is the procedure for obtaining medical visa for Singapore?

It is important that you check the visa requirements for your country as Singapore is a country with relaxed visa norms for many countries. Let us have a look at the required documents for medical visa for Singapore:

  1. Passport with the required time validity
  2. Completed application form
  3. LOI or Letter of Introduction from a local contact in Singapore
  4. A recent passport size photograph
  5. Bio data page photocopy of the passport of the applicant
  6. Covering letter and forwarding letter

Please check the required visa fee from your country for Singapore medical visa. The medical visa processing time from Singapore is 5 working days and this excludes the day of visa submission (delays due to incomplete applications or during peak periods is not ruled out). Please make sure that you submit your original bank statement with your visa application to get your Singapore medical visa.