This report originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of DOTmed Business News
The market for catheter angiography equipment is well on its way to recovery from the economic downturn, a trend that both OEMs and resellers say will continue into the future.
Catheter angiography equipment was the first to recoup from the recession according to Richard Fabian, vice president of X-ray business North America for Philips Healthcare. “It was the first to come out of the market decline, and it led all of imaging systems for growth,” he says. “It has now leveled off at pre-recession, pre-health care reform levels.”
Daniel Wheeler, president of Transtate Equipment Company, says the growth is driven in part by just how invaluable catheter angiography equipment can be in a hospital setting.
“The technology for cath/angio is the gold standard for diagnosing heart disease,” says Wheeler. “So the market is growing. It is growing internationally, and it is growing significantly.”
Chris Sharrock, product manager for Block Imaging International, says that the growth in the past few years is also due to timing — in 2002, flat panel detectors were introduced into the market and revolutionized the field of medical imaging.
Older models relied on an image intensifier to magnify, capture, and process the image. “When flat panel detectors arrived it really changed the game,” says Sharrock. “They have much higher resolution, full digital processing, and far less limitations with image magnification.”
The result was equipment that required lower doses while producing better quality images. In the past few years, leased equipment and older models have started to enter the refurbishing market in large volumes.
The time lag between the introduction of new technology and updating systems across the board can be significant, according to Sharrock.
“Every modality has its moment,” he says. “There’s a big leap forward, and everyone catches up. Ten years later, there’s another significant jump, and it takes 10 more years for everyone to catch up again.”
Transtate’s Wheeler does not anticipate any significant technological advances in the coming years. “We’re still excited about the technological advances that occurred about nine years ago,” he says. “And I don’t see anything on the horizon that will make us any more excited than we already are.”
Sharrock predicts that much of the industry’s focus will continue to be on reducing radiation exposure. “The FDA is very, very firm on this,” he says. “The direction everyone will be going is less dose, better quality.”
For their part, OEMs are living up to Sharrock’s predictions.
GE Healthcare is continuing to address customer needs through innovations and new options for existing offerings. Earlier this year, the company introduced a new configuration to its Innova 3100-IQ (Optima Edition). This configuration delivers many of the features provided by the original Innova 3100-IQ, including the all important dose reduction technology and high-quality imaging, but comes in at a lower price point. By removing some of the more-advanced imaging options, GE has been able to offer a machine listing for $500,000 less.
Meanwhile, last year, Philips introduced DoseAware, which allows real-time monitoring of dose exposure during procedures. Although the product does not directly reduce dose, it does map the amount of exposure during a procedure and allows providers to be more aware of the patient’s exposure. “These are little changes,” says Fabian. “But as a result, you practice better dose management.”
Fabian says that technology will improve gradually in the coming years to address concerns regarding dose and integration. He does not expect something as radical as the flat panel detector to be introduced to the market any time soon.
“I don’t think there’s anything earth shattering in the future,” says Fabian. “But every vendor will continue to find out how we can improve our systems.”
DOTmed Registered Special Procedure Cath/Angio Sales & Service Companies
Names in boldface are Premium Listings.
John (JB)Brant, Amber Diagnostics, FL
Moshe Alkalay, Hi Tech Int'l Group, FL
J.Mario Chaves, MBS International Group, FL
Terry Koehler, MedExtras, IN
Robert Thompson, MASS Medical Storage, KS
David Pac, American Radiology Resource, MD
Chris Sharrock, Block Imaging International, Inc., MI
Jeff Rogers, Medical Imaging Resources, MI
Dan Wheeler, Transtate Equipment Company, NC
Alison Fortin, Global Inventory Management LLC, NH
Ryan Gilday, Clinical Imaging Systems, Inc., NJ
Adil Mehmood, Gateway Imports, NJ
Robert Manetta, Nationwide Imaging Services, NJ
Joseph Jenkins, International Imaging Ltd., NV
Leon Gugel, Metropolis International, NY
Michael Pisciotti, Map2 Enterprises, PA
Matt Smith, TranzRad, TX
Carl Hoffman, First Call Parts, VA
Kelly Phipps, Core Medical Imaging, WA
David Lapenat, ANDA Medical Inc., Canada
P. Patil, P. Patil, India
Vasant Sohoni, Vasant Sohoni & Associates, India
Hiroyoshi Miyama, M-cast Inc., Japan
Imad Muati, IMC, Syria
Jose Morillo, J Morillo Sistemas Biomedicos, Venezuela