The increased prevalence of ailments such as cardiovascular disease and stroke is fuelling demand worldwide for interventional X-ray systems, a medical specialty providing image-guided minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment in order to lessen patient risk.
Caused by an ageing population and behavioural risk factors, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, according to the American Heart Association, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths in 2013. That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
The second leading global cause of death behind heart disease in 2013 was stroke, also a cardiovascular disorder, accounting for 11.8 percent of all deaths worldwide.
To this end, demand will grow for interventional X-ray systems, IHS Markit believes, especially as the systems are harnessed in support of various interventional cardiology procedures, such as transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and aortic abdominal aneurism (AAA).
Overall, interventional cardiology procedures are being performed more often today because of increased reimbursement by health providers, along with a greater awareness among both medical practitioners and patients of the clinical benefits to be derived. Interventional procedures are also now easier for physicians to perform, helping to reducing patient risk.
In the case of strokes, with the number of cases also growing worldwide, the choice of mechanical thrombectomy as a less aggressive mode of treatment will benefit the interventional neurology market. Here demand is projected to increase over the next five years, with angiography systems preferred, to visualize and guide thrombectomy. These systems need to provide not only uncompromising image quality while having minimal interference with the interventional procedures, but also precise and flexible positioning control for interventional X-ray systems.
In the United Kingdom, more stroke patients will be able to access mechanical thrombectomy as plans call for the treatment to be rolled out to 8,000 stroke patients a year—facilitated by the huge expansion in the number of hospitals offering this procedure, compared to the few that offer it today. As a result, thousands of stroke patients will be saved from lifelong disability.
With the rise in demand for mechanical thrombectomy comes a need to further drive innovation in comprehensive imaging capabilities. And as developments in the field continue, even more complex procedures can be performed. In turn, vendors can refine their devices accordingly, enabling greater ease and safety for better patient outcomes.
New interventional procedures also have a role
Several novel interventional procedures can also be performed as an alternative to drug treatments historically administered as part of the patient care pathway.
For instance, atrial fibrillation—one of the most important risk factors of stroke caused by blood clots that form in the left atrial appendage—affects 33.5 million people globally. Untreated, it can cause 15% of the total number of strokes. While the conventional treatment and prescription for this condition is blood thinners, not all patients can be treated successfully through this method. But because of improved interventional cardiology, it is now possible to perform a minimally invasive interventional procedure known as left atrial appendage closure (LAAC), which seals off a small sac in the heart where blood clots have a tendency to form. Clinical demand for LAAC procedures is likely to take root first in North America, thanks to ongoing innovations in the imaging capabilities of interventional cardiology X-ray systems.
Overall, new technological developments in interventional X-ray systems are allowing more complex procedures to be performed. Interventional suites should, therefore, include tailored features that match the therapeutic requirements of the interventional imaging technique and the skills of the interventional team.
And as patient cases grow in complexity and become more challenging, the need will arise for enhanced visualisation and image quality from interventional X-ray equipment vendors, ensuring that cases are handled safely and efficiently.
For more information on this subject, see our Interventional X-ray equipment 2017 report as part of the X-ray Intelligence service.
Bhvita Jani is an Analyst, Healthcare Technology, within the IHS Technology Group at IHS Markit
Posted 9 October 2017