From the April 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Interventional cardiology continues to be a robust clinical area. We can expect to see purchasing return to the levels we saw pre-pandemic once hospitals recover financially from the impact of COVID-19.
With its high rate of cardiovascular disease and the impact of COVID-19, North America remains the largest market for cardiac ultrasound. Cardiovascular ultrasound uses 2D, 3D, 4D, color, and pulsed wave doppler to acquire diagnostic images of the heart, vascular system, and, in some instances, the lungs for prognosis, tracking, and treatment of patients.
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The advantages of echocardiography versus invasive cardiac diagnostic procedures, coupled with the rising incidences of cardiovascular disease, are driving market growth. At the same time, innovations and technological advancements and a surge in preventive medicine have boosted market growth even more. Vendors have introduced new performance models that offer streamlined ergonomics and software that combine the strength of their premium models with some of the mobility features of compact, portable systems. COVID-19 has led to increased use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in the screening, monitoring, and treatment of patients, with attention focused on the lung and heart. According to the Point-of-Care Ultrasound Certification Academy, “The aim of goal-directed echo is to identify and find the different causes of acute cardiac failure or the causes of hemodynamic instability. It’s an approach that is consistently evolving but is becoming widely accepted as a beneficial way to manage a patient.” The increased demand saw providers who were not trained ultrasound technologists performing exams. In response, vendors created tutorials, authored whitepapers, and equipped systems with COVID-19 protocols to improve diagnostic exam accuracy and patient outcomes. Ultrasound guidance in transesophageal (TEE), interventional, and vascular procedures has led to an increase in software updates being offered by vendors for current systems, with discounting seen ranging from 60% to 100% for software upgrade purchases.
Unfortunately, there have been FDA recalls on some TEE transducers, specialized transducers, and cardiac model systems’ pulse doppler features. This has not diminished or derailed innovation and advances in technology. Some vendors introduced new cardiac system models, and others introduced updated and new software and components, including more sensitive transducers. Transducers with varying ranges of field of view, higher frequencies with less loss of spatial resolution, and more depth penetration have been seen.