Proliferation of ultrasound imaging to new clinical markets boosts revenues in the United States

Palo Alto 09 February 2004Ultrasound imaging is a low-cost, effective and highly mobile imaging technology that can help clinicians obtain actionable clinical information at the point of care. Increasing adoption of this technology in non-radiology specialities is creating fresh market opportunities for vendors. Ultrasound imaging systems are already common in the offices of cardiologists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, surgeons, urologists and vascular specialists. New user groups, such as anaesthesiologists and emergency physicians, are continuing to emerge in both hospital and non-hospital segments. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, "U.S. Ultrasound Markets", reveals that the industry generated revenues totaling $1,26 billion in 2003. Total revenues expect to reach $1,89 billion by 2010.


One of the primary drivers for increasing adoption of ultrasound imaging by physicians is the availability of affordable ultrasound imaging equipment such as hand-carried ultrasound systems (HCU) with performance approaching that of cart-based ultrasound equipment and the growing mid-range ultrasound segment. This is made possible by advancements in software and semiconductor technology that pack increasing amounts of processing power into smaller medical devices.

"The HCU product segment is the fastest-growing segment within the United States ultrasound market. We expect the product segment to exhibit a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent to reach $330 million by 2010", stated Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Luke Liem.

While the attractive price performance, device size and portability of HCU systems are rapidly expanding the installed base of ultrasound in various medical specialities, the growing tendency of vendors to position HCU systems as lower-cost replacements for more expensive cart-based systems could lower average selling prices and hamper overall ultrasound market revenues.

Increasingly, United States demographic trends are pushing procedural volume growth and the cardiology ultrasound market is most likely to reap the benefits. The aging population will require higher utilization of ultrasound imaging to diagnose and treat aging-related problems, particularly heart diseases.

"The United States cardiology market is expected to be the strategic contention point amongst the Big-3 vendors: Siemens, Philips and GE Medical Systems. The market has two very attractive characteristics. Medicare reimbursement for echocardiography procedures is rich compared to reimbursement for radiology and OB/GYN procedures, and the current U.S. demographic trend points to ever increasing demand for cardiac care", noted Luke Liem.

Cardiology ultrasound also has a strong pipeline of exciting technological breakthroughs such as real-time 3D echocardiography and contrast perfusion imaging. Progressive adoption of these technologies will usher in another favorable cycle of upgrade and replacement.

The U.S. Ultrasound Markets, a part of the Medical Imaging subscription, provides insights into the markets for ultrasound imaging procedures. The study covers ultrasound-imaging equipment in radiology, cardiology, OB/GYN and other areas. For each segment, revenue, unit shipment and installed base forecasts are offered along with an overview of the competitive structure and market share breakdowns. The report further provides separate analysis for the fast growing hand-carried ultrasound (HCU) product segment, as well as detailed analysis on three emerging end-user groups: surgeons, anaesthesiologists and emergency physicians.

If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides manufacturers, end-users and other industry participants an overview of the latest analysis of the U.S. Ultrasound Markets, you can send an e-mail to Danielle White, Healthcare Media Relations Executive at Frost & Sullivan with the following information: full name, company name, title, telephone number, fax number and e-mail. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you via e-mail.

Leslie Versweyveld

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