8 things to take care when getting heart surgery abroad
1. Know what type of Bypass surgery is advisable for you
Conventional bypass, Minimally Invasive Coronary artery bypass, or MIDCAB or Off-pump coronary artery bypass, or OPCAB
Bypass surgery can be done through various techniques. Some of which are minimally invasive technique, off pump, on pump etc. Not every patient is a candidate for every technique. A careful selection of the technique helps in early recovery and better management and thus results for the patient.
When you are advised a heart operation, ask the treating doctor in your country about the best technique for you and confirm the same with the surgeon in the destination country.
2. Country of choice for your surgery
There are many destinations where you can get the heart surgery done. However, it is important to choose the right destination for your needs. Check how sophisticated technology is available in that country, how developed is the healthcare system, what language do the doctors and nurses speak. Political stability in the country is an important factor for you to consider before you embark on the journey.
3. Cost of heart surgery
This is naturally an important question, because it would help you chalk out the list of countries where you can afford the surgery. If you have a limited budget, you would need to choose a country which offers best heart surgery at most affordable prices. You need to consider not only the cost of surgery, but the cost of air fare, accommodation cost after the patient is released from the hospital, cost of meals etc which form a large chunk of the total cost of heart surgery abroad. Also specifically ask what is included and excluded in the quotation given to you.
4. Visa requirements
It is important to know if you would need a visa to enter the country and how long does it take to get the visa as that would help you plan your travel better. It is also helpful to know if the company you are travelling with helps you get a visa to that country.
5. Know the credentials of your treating surgeon
You should check the credentials of the surgeon who would operate on you or your loved one- where has he been trained, how many surgeries of such kind he has performed, what has been his success rate for similar surgeries. You can ask for a telephonic conversation or a video conference with the surgeon so that you feel comfortable before you decide to go ahead.
6. Details & Accreditation of hospital where your surgery would be done
Heart operation is a complex procedure. It needs sophisticated technology, trained nurses, good intensive care set up, very low infection rates, and various other factors that play a vital role in the success of your heart surgery. Good heart hospitals are usually JCI accredited, which is the highest standard accepted worldwide. JCI accredits the hospitals which meet their laid out criteria and thus ensure you get quality infrastructure and services.
7. Total duration of stay required for the surgery & recuperation
It is important to know how many days would you need to stay at the hospital, how many days needed after you are released from the hospital, where would your stay be arranged, what can you expect before and after the surgery, how about follow up with the surgeon, what about the inland transfers etc. Though these things look trivial, but can be very hassling if not planned properly.
8. Which company is coordinating your surgery
You must look into the credentials of the company that is coordinating your treatment abroad. A reputed company shall not only be a good guide and help you make an informed and sound decision; they would help you with various errands in an unknown country.
Always look for the reputation of the company, check reviews online and ask for references. A good company shall not shy away from giving you ample references of the past patients who can be contacted for their experience of getting the surgery done abroad.