Dublin, CA (PRWEB) July 29, 2009
The world Medical Ultrasound equipment, accessories, and maintenance services market is expected to reach $4.7 billion by 2012. Higher growth rates towards the end of this period are projected as economic conditions stabilize around the world leading to sizeable increases in healthcare expenditures, particularly in high-end capital equipment acquisition.
Growth in the ultrasound market will be driven by demand for hand-carried ultrasound devices and penetration of emerging geographic and clinical markets. Overall growth in medical imaging will also continue due to growing populations of elderly people worldwide, with a concurrent rise in chronic disease rates, which presents new opportunities for growth and expansion. Main restraints in the ultrasound market include the sluggish economy in many countries, reimbursement restrictions and competition from MRI and CT in areas of overlapping application.
The new report published by Marketstrat Inc. discusses these and other trends in the Medical Ultrasound market worldwide, with market estimates and forecasts for the 2008-2016 period. The report discusses the contribution of technological innovation in driving the ultrasound market forward, with hand-carried ultrasound (HCU) systems being the most significant. After Sonosite Inc. first introduced hand-carried ultrasound in 1999, the global leader in medical imaging GE, jumped on board, quickly establishing a broad base in the compact and hand-carried device segment with a wide range of HCUs. The original devices were focused on providing portability and minimizing storage space, although image quality was compromised. The latest HCUs with much improved resolution are now poised to capture a large share of the ultrasound market across the globe. As the leaders in HCU, GE and Sonosite expand their range and offer greater functionality and improved performance at a lower cost, other imaging giants such as Philips, Siemens and Toshiba are launching new products to tap into this market, competing against well-established niche players such as Aloka, Esaote, Zonare, etc.
In an era where medical imaging markets are battling reduced capital expenditures in the traditionally safe markets such as the US, Europe and Japan, HCUs and convertible, compact, cart-based ultrasound devices offer new opportunities both in these regions and in the emerging healthcare markets of Asia and Latin America. These latter regions will continue to see healthcare facility expansion to meet growing healthcare needs, and will be the primary markets for new equipment purchases in the future. A number of features make HCUs attractive in the imaging market in all regions:
Price - Available at a fraction of the cost of a large cart-based system, HCUs are more accessible to providers in developing countries. In the US, Western Europe, Canada and Japan, the low price of HCUs are attractive to smaller physician's offices as well as hospitals looking to acquire more imaging devices.
Portability - Miniaturization expands utility significantly, making the HCU an indispensible tool. Hand-held or hand-carried devices can be used for a wide range of point-of-care applications, from the Emergency Room (ER) to the Operating Room(OR) to the patient's bedside or physician's office.
Ease of use - Technological advances makes them easy to use by non-radiology physicians.
Improved functionality - High-end devices feature improved resolution, color dopplers and volumetric imaging along with specialized diagnostic software that improves accuracy, sensitivity and specificity almost comparable to large cart-based systems.
One hurdle in the advancement of ultrasound is the issue of contrast agents. Contrast agents can greatly enhance image quality and diagnostic efficacy. They will be a key factor in helping ultrasound effectively compete with MRI and CT for certain diagnostic tests. Contrast agents are routinely used in MRI and CT. However, there are few ultrasound contrast agents available. Of these, Optison ™, DEFINITY® and SonoVue are caught in the middle of a controversy. The US FDA and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products have recently issued warnings contraindicating use of these contrast agents for certain cardiology applications. Medical experts are lobbying hard against these rulings, since cardiac ultrasound was the main use prior to the regulatory warnings. Until the regulatory hurdles are removed, the current market and growth of ultrasound contrast agents will be impacted significantly in the next few years. New applications such as contrast-enhanced liver and breast ultrasound will take time to become established procedures.
The new Marketstrat report discusses current and future trends in ultrasound market in a wide range of clinical segments. These include traditional applications such as General Ultrasound, Cardiology, and Women's Health (Ob/Gyn and Breast), in addition to emerging segments such as Emergency Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesia and Critical Care. Data is also presented for transducers, maintenance services and contrast agents. Geographic segments presented in this report include US, Europe, Japan and the rest of the world (ROW).
For more details on this report please go to http://www.marketstrat.com/reports/availreport/medical-ultrasound-systems-worldwide-2009.html.
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