Cost Estimate For EKG & Other Tests In Taiwan


In about two weeks I’m getting my NHI. However, I’ve developed an arrhythmia for whatever reason. If I go to a hospital like NTU, how much can I expect to pay out of pocket, not ER, but during the daytime?

Based on my past experiences, I have to do an EKG, scan of the heart, possibly blood tests.

So I’m trying to determine if I should just go now or wait until I have insurance if it is too expensive. Last time I paid these out of pocket, they were quite expensive but Singapore costs a lot of money in general.

Any information is welcomed.

Thank you.

Wait for NHI

While cost is going to be a lot lower than the US for most procedures NHI will make it even cheaper.

Most medical procedures are relatively inexpensive here even without insurance. I’d put having a cardiac arrhythmia on the priority list and have it checked out asap. I mean, if you’re heart stops working or the arrhythmia converts to full on tachycardia it could end up costing you more. With insurance should be about 500-600ntd. Not sure how much without. At the least I would walk in to NTUH or another good hospital and see a cardiologist and explain your situation. He could be able to tell you if your situation is urgent or can wait a bit. I’d speculate that a cardiologist consult and ekg would be 2000-3000ntd.

I agree but there’s a big chance it is from antihistamines. This entire thing started after I took them. I’ve stopped them but my normal resting rate isn’t back on track.

Six months ago I spent $1500 on tests including to see if I have a hole in my heart. I know I have a slightly irregular rhythm but not enough to correct and that’s about it.

And I have this habit of panicking and rushing into decisions without thinking them through. Last time I felt heart palpitations I did rush to the ER fearing an heart attack. The doctor told me to stop smoking, stop drinking and to sleep like normal people, not at 4 AM.

So for me there is the case of the boy that cried wolf too many times. A part of me wants to go to the ER now. Another part knows I need to chill the fuck down, I ran 2 km in 12 minutes today, I don’t have chest pain, I’m already on blood thinning medication so whatever it is, won’t kill me. Apart from a genetic condition that makes my blood clot and for which I take aspirine daily, I actually don’t have many risk factors.

Sorry for the long rant.

Unfortunately I think it will take a lot more than an EKG and a talk with a doctor to diagnose this. I was diagnosed with tachycardia as a child, then it went down, then it went up, 10 BPM more now for resting rate than one year ago. But I’ve seen doctors about this. They all say it’s lifestyle.

Okaaayyyy… my point is that unless I feel this is life threatening, deferring until later may be wiser. And it may be just be those damn antihistamines. Or me being tired. Or flying to Europe and back twice in less than a month. I don’t know. Observe and wait for now :). I’ll be very surprised if I drop dead with an heart attack.

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I’ve seen a couple of cardiologists here (due to a combination of bouts of apparent costochondritis, palpitations, infrequent supposedly benign PVCs, and having become something of a hypochondriac over the last several years). If you have an arrhythmia, I’d suggest going to see a cardiologist sooner rather than later, if only for the satisfaction of almost certainly being told that it’s benign and you should sleep more and drink less coffee.

In particular, consulting a cardiologist and having an ECG are essentially free, even without insurance, so it’s not really worth waiting for the NHI given the importance of having, you know, a functioning heart. Some of the other tests, like a stress ECG, 24-hour ECG, or echocardiogram, can run into the low thousands, but that’s still relatively cheap in my opinion. (A regular ECG will obviously only be useful if your arrhythmia is occurring during the minute or two of the test, so that would depend on your specific case.)

The cardiologist here I’d most recommend is called Chun-Yee Lee (李君儀 - he’s listed under “cardiovascular surgery” rather than “cardiology”) at Mackay - I’ve seen him a couple of times and he seemed very competent and reassuring and speaks very good English. I’ve also seen one called Yueh-Juh Lin at NTUH (he was good as far as I remember and spoke English, but it was quite a while ago and I don’t remember exactly). There are also others of course (I just chose these two at random based on who was available at the time).

I’d suggest going to see the guy at Mackay, or another cardiologist selected at random, and just explaining everything to see what he/she recommends. You can always ask the price before agreeing to something - I usually do that if it’s something that I expect might be expensive, and my general impression with most of the hospital doctors here has been that they err on the side of avoiding unnecessary procedures, i.e., “I don’t think it’s necessary, but if you want to do it and pay for it I’ll make the appointment for you”.

According to my budgeting app and receipts, the rough costs I’ve paid are as follows (all over the last couple of years at either NTUH or Mackay, with no NHI):

  • Basic consultation (including hospital registration fee): 400-500 TWD
  • ECG: several hundred TWD (not sure exactly as I usually got it with other stuff and the items aren’t separated on the receipt - I think ~300 TWD or less)
  • Basic blood tests (CBC, electrolytes, stuff like that): several hundred TWD each
  • Stress/treadmill ECG (NTUH): I think around ~1500 TWD (ditto)
  • 24-hour ECG (NTUH): ~3500 TWD
  • Echocardiogram (Mackay): ~2650 TWD
  • ER visit (Mackay, including numerous blood tests): ~3300 TWD

Hope that helps. Good luck. :slight_smile:

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Lol. This is pretty much exactly what several cardiologists have told me (without the smoking part - quit several years ago, although still use nicotine, which I’m gradually tapering down). I’ll eventually manage to follow this advice…

Thank you for the detailed advice.

You know, I swear all my problems come from stress. I had an MRI for muscle twitching and feeling half of my face numb.

I tested for the auto immune, for infections, for viruses, for rheumatoid factors… and eventually did a brain MRI.

All fine.

Logical conclusion and medical diagnostic is that I stress too much and don’t get enough rest.

So after paying for an MRI out of pocket, this is cheap. But again, I feel like I’m panicking here and I told myself I’m done with that.

What is true though is that (1) I do have a diagnosed heart problem and (2) I do have a blood clotting issue which may be basically the same.

Okay. I’ll give it a few days for the antihistamines to wear off. After taking those my itching went away and my heart went into overdrive. If it stays the same, I’ll go, insurance or not.

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Normal resting heart rate is something like 60-100. If it’s within that range I wouldn’t be stressing about it.

When you say arrhythmia do you mean it’s an irregular beat or skipping a beat? Any lightheadedness? That’s a different situation and should be checked sooner rather than later. Heart rate 10 beats/minute faster than your normal baseline is nothing to worry about. Also age is a factor. If your an old fart over 40 have to pay more attention. If your younger most likely just stress.

  1. Feeling my heart in my throat, from time to time w episodes of light-headdiness. I wouldn’t say confused but I’m certainly not at my best then.

  2. Current RHR when sitting is 97, as of typing this. One month ago it was under 80.

  3. No chest pain. I couldn’t detect an irregular beat even if I wanted, I don’t have any portable EKG. Same with skipping a beat.

They feel very much like panic attacks and that’s fine. Everyone gets them from time to time. But having my heart work at 95 - 100 all the time instead of the usual 75 is worrisome to me.

As far as heart rate during sleep, it falls to 65, no problems there.

The strange thing is that this happens only in “passive” mode. I went running and my HR wasn’t elevated. It was the same as always, around 140 when running for a while. So it doesn’t add up when I add stress to my heart. It’s just my resting heart rate that’s way out of place.

So I can’t say I feel sick but when these episodes happen, they do scare me.

Male, 29, relatively good shape.

Yeah, sounds like anxiety to me. Probably a little dehydrated as well.

Try this. Check your heart rate and then drink 4-5 cups of water over about 20 minutes. Then check your heart rate again. If your heart rate is lower, that means your not hydrating enough.

Also, increased resting heart won’t translate into an elevated heart rate when running. So that’s normal.

Also: are you drinking a lot of coffee/caffeine lately? That will increase you HR and can cause you to feel anxious

It is super cheap in Taiwan. EKG with simple blood test for cardiac enzymes to rule out heart attack and arrhythmia should not cost more than NT$2000. I am a physician currently practicing in a community hospital in Taipei. Contact me via line app at wang_kenneth .I am glad to assist any expat with their health conditions during their stay in Taiwan


I’d personally would probably avoid visiting hospitals right now as the risk might be greater than the gain.


Went to public hospital. Did EKG, X-Ray, examination. I have hypertension (and started medication on that), but nothing wrong with my heart. Told me no further tests are required and that it is likely lifestyle related.

But then again I had 155 with 119 tension…

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What did they give you for the hypertension, just out of curiosity? Also, do you have any pharmacies near you where you could check your blood pressure again under normal conditions?

Mine is usually a little high (I have a monitor at home), but it’s always a lot higher just before a hospital appointment with the added stress and rushing because I’m usually late. I learned this in Thailand during regular appointments for something else - turns out that going to bed late, waking up 30 min after my appointment, slamming a double espresso, and driving my scooter to the hospital on Thai roads causes quite a spike in my blood pressure.

Good to hear it’s nothing serious though!


They gave me Bisoprolol.

I feel it is working a bit too well. My HR now is dangerously close to 60. After a month of having it at 95, it feels strange. I’ve decided that if it drops at any point under 60, to go back to the hospital. Maybe it’s a side effect or maybe this is my normal RHR, since I do exercise.

That’s a good idea, to check my blood pressure at a pharmacy. I’ll do that.

Yeah, the day I took my tension, I wasn’t in the best of moods or states. Smoked a lot, had a rough day. Still - this pill lowers my HR which is good I guess? It’s not like Taiwanese doctors explain too much why they do what they do.

If you don’t mind to say, how much did it cost?

If I remember right…

  • 400 admission.
  • Around 1800 for EKG, X-Ray, seeing two specialists (chest and heart) and medicine and a CBC (complete blood count).

All out of pocket, no insurance used.

So total 2200.

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I can’t have blood pressure meds that contain beta blockers, as my heart beat goes dangerous low. Check with your doctor. I have two different, one that has a controlled release during daytime and another one for night.

Last year I had a cold (coughing a lot for a month) and the combination with my blood pressure meds and cough meds had my BP down to 60/90, not good I can tell you. Doctor said leave the BP meds until cold is gone. Switched to other cold meds, than BP went through the roof to 200/150.

I’m considering it.

So far, my HR had not dropped under 61. I know that fitness watches aren’t the most accurate but it’s always the same as just counting my pulse.

If it drops and stays under 60, I’m not even waiting for the doctor. I’m going to the ER. But 65 was my RHR before my health went awry so let’s see.

Thank you for the advice. May I know what dangerous low means to you?

Like below 25 BPM.