A recent Frost & Sullivan end-user survey shows increased awareness and utilization of new tools and approaches to treating atrial fibrillation (Afib). Of the various forms of cardiac arrhythmia, AFib is the one of the most prevalent and hardest to treat. Two and a half million people in the U.S. have AFib, and about one million are symptomatic and do not respond well to traditional drug therapy and behavior modification (diet, exercise). Approximately 200,000 new cases of AFib are diagnosed annually in the U.S. While medical device therapy options are increasing, their adoption and utilization for atrial fibrillation has been slow.
Market estimates show that less than 20 percent of the addressable market for atrial fibrillation therapy is being served due to limited regulatory approval and lack of provider training and expertise. The market that participants like to call "two years away, for the past ten years," is now building momentum due to ongoing clinical research and recent FDA approval of the first catheter ablation system for treatment of atrial fibrillation in February of 2009.
The latest end-user study from Frost & Sullivan's Medical Device group assesses a variety of critical dynamics of catheter ablation approaches and technologies in treatment of both paroxysmal and long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation. Electrophysiologists, cardiologists, and cardiac surgeons provided insight on factors such as adoption drivers, clinical preferences, expected impact of the economy, referral patterns, assistive technologies and brand perceptions.
Select findings include the following:
• Compared to results collected during Frost & Sullivan's 2007 End User Perceptions of Atrial Fibrillation Study, a statistically significant increase in awareness of the latest trends in EP ablation procedures and technologies was noted.
• One-quarter of Electrophysiologists currently use robotic-assisted magnetic navigation systems. Of those who do not, 41 percent report that they are very unlikely to adopt a robotic or magnetic system for ablation in the next 12 months.
• Upgrading of existing products / technologies is foreseen to be very or somewhat negatively impacted by the economy by 53% of responding Electrophysiologists.
• The most utilized ablation strategy for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation is wide area circumferential ablation. The least utilized ablation strategy is Target Fractionated Electrograms.
• Cardiologists on average estimate that 35 percent of their patients are aware of and receptive to ablation procedures.
Fieldwork for this study was conducted in March of 2009, a total sample was achieved of 166 clinicians, broken out into 103 Electrophysiologists, 47 General Cardiologists, and 16 Cardiac Surgeons within the U.S.
From the Analyst
"The atrial fibrillation market is considered to be one of the next major opportunities for growth in the cardiovascular space, particularly for companies focused on management and treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Venkat Rajan. "Due to mounting clinical support and the concurrent maturation of assistive technologies that enable for more accurate target identification and treatment planning, the market is poised to undergo a significant change over the next five years."
"As the market continues to develop, there are number of key clinical and product features that system developers must define themselves around as they seek distinction in the marketplace," explains Rajan.
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