Defibrillators – Never Skip a Beat
Defibrillator is an essential tool in cardiopulmonary resuscitation indicated in cardiac arrhythmia. Various advancements have been observed in defibrillator technology – from manual to automated ones, and implantable defibrillators to ensure constant care for patients suffering from ischemic heart disease or those at high risk of cardiac arrest. A Global Resuscitation Alliance (GRA) was formed in 2016, comprising international health organizations, global resuscitation leaders, and the American Heart Association (AHA), with an objective to increase the survival rate of patients with sudden cardiac arrest, by 50%. This alliance actively works towards increasing public awareness about defibrillators and has facilitated the installation of automated defibrillators in public places for use in case of related medical emergencies. Training initiatives such as by-stander PCR training by manufacturers would considerably contribute towards improvement in survival rates, while enhancing brand visibility.
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Onboard emergency medical cases lead to major losses to airlines. Emirates handled more than 60 flight diversions in 2016 due to medical emergency and it is estimated that a single diversion could lead to losses ranging from US$ 50,000 to US$ 600,000. The airline therefore decided to set standards for emergency medical care in 2016 and have invested US$ 7 million for installing medical equipment on board which also include defibrillators.
The global defibrillators market was valued at US$ 11,820 million in 2015.
Figure 1. Global Defibrillators Market Size and Forecast, US$ Million and Y-o-Y Growth (%), 2014–2024
Source: Coherent Market Insights Analysis (2017)
Low survival rates among cardiac arrest patients surging the demand for portable devices in the global defibrillators market
According to the 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine, around 600 thousand people suffer from cardiac arrest every year in the U.S., with over 65% of cases in out-of-hospital settings. The survival rate of out-of-hospital setting is less than 6%, while it is 24% in hospital settings. Lack of operational knowledge among consumers about defibrillators and about carrying out CPR results in low survival rate in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases. Various training initiatives about proper use of defibrillators and CPR techniques are in turn fueling demand for defibrillators, especially automated ones. The UAE government who deployed defibrillators in the country carried training of individuals, and staff in the malls. According to the American Heart Association, lack of availability of trained/skilled by-stander at the emergency site reduces the survival rate of patient with sudden cardiac arrest by 7% – 10% with every minute of delay until defibrillation. Initiatives to increase awareness and accessibility to the device would augment the defibrillators market growth.
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Increasing accessibility and on-site availability of defibrillators
Various manufacturers of defibrillators and government and non-governmental organizations have installed these life-saving devices in public and private places such as schools, airports, and malls in the markets such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, UAE and U.K., called as public access defibrillator (PAD). The UAE government deployed 82 automated external defibrillators (AED) in February 2016 across different locations in the country. Besides, a student at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, has created a drone that carries defibrillator to the emergency site. While this is still pretty much a prototype, further research on this can significantly reduce development and installation costs of PAD, while significantly enhancing reach of defibrillators in emergency medical scenarios even in hard to reach remote locations. Also referred to as ambulance drones, clearance from air traffic laws would set commercialization of this product on the fast track, in turn driving growth of defibrillators market. However, as stated earlier, lack of training regarding proper use of these devices inhibits defibrillators market growth to a certain extent. Various manufacturers of these devices and healthcare organizations are focusing on providing training regarding CPR and proper use of PADs to address this issue.
Some of the major manufacturers in the global defibrillators market include Koninklijke Philips N.V., Metrax GmbH (Primedic), Mindray Medical International Limited, Medical Information Technology, Inc., ZOLL Medical Corporation, Philips Healthcare, and GE Healthcare.
Technological advancements aiding to improve the defibrillators market dynamics
Defibrillators have improved significantly in terms of cost, size reduction and ease of operation. Two of the most important of these advancements are development of automated external defibrillator (AED) and implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). These devices help prevent cardiac attacks, with little or no external assistance irrespective of the time and location in case of any major variations in heartbeat. However, cases of inappropriate functioning leading to hospitalization or even death of the patient has led to implementation of stringent regulations for approval and usage of the devices at potential patient sites. The U.S. FDA in 2015 issued an order to include pre-marketing approval (PMA) submission for all the prevalent and new defibrillators.
A research by Dr. Lee, at the University of California, San Francisco, found that 38% of shocks generated by implanted defibrillators are inappropriate. This is found to result in an increase in treatment cost by nearly US$ 4,500. Philips had to stop selling its defibrillator in 2016 due to supply chain and safety issues raised by the U.S. Justice Department.
With technological improvements, operating a defibrillator has become very easy for a by-stander post induction of proper training. Inbuilt audio and video support with combined CPR and defibrillator facility have encouraged people to use them at public places and at homes as well in turn posing a threat to advanced life support defibrillators (ALS).