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Analyst: PET scan volume growth slows

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | August 21, 2012
Although an estimated 110,000 more U.S. patients received PET scans in 2011 than the year before, the growth in PET procedure volumes has slowed from the mid-2000s, according to a new market study from IMV.

The 130-page report, announced Tuesday, also found that most PET and PET/CT users don't plan to buy new equipment over the next three years, and that close to half of all scans happen in mobile units.

In a teaser for the report, Lorna Young, an analyst with the Des Plaines, Ill.-based research firm, said 1.85 million PET scans took place last year, up 6 percent from the estimated 1.74 million scans in 2010.

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However, this is well below the 10 percent annual growth enjoyed between 2005 and 2008, she said, and even below the 7 percent growth experienced between 2008 and 2010.

Also, most of the growth was caused by the increase in new PET sites. Procedure growth at the 2,200 U.S. hospital and clinic sites providing PET scans only averaged about half a percent, Young said.

Whatever the reason for the slowing growth, about 14 percent of PET and PET/CT users plan on buying a new system in the next three years, the report said.

According to PET usage statistics turned up by the report, about 44 percent of scans took place in a mobile PET or PET/CT scanner. And the overwhelming majority of scans were for cancer, used FDG and relied on radiopharmaceuticals purchased from an outside supplier, IMV said.

The 2012 PET Imaging Market Summary Report was conducted by telephone interviews of 738 sites from April 2011 through March 2012, IMV said.

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