News | February 04, 2009

U.S. Cardiology Practices Expand Adoption of 64-slice CT, Maintain Use of SPECT, Echo

February 4, 2009 - According to a new market research report released this month by market research firm IMV Medical Information Division, the adoption of 64-slice CT equipment by cardiology practices throughout the U.S. has more than doubled over the past two years.

The survey finds that 45 percent of the cardiology practices surveyed presently own or lease CT equipment, reporting an average of about two units per practice among those who have such equipment. Only 23.5 percent of the practices surveyed in 2006 owned or leased CT equipment at that time, with an average of 1.4 units per practice that had such equipment.

“The majority of CT units out there in the cardiology practices now are 64-slice units,” observed Mary C. Patton, director of market research at IMV. “It's extremely important for today’s cardiology practice to offer state-of-the-art imaging capabilities to maintain or improve its competitive edge and provide the best possible patient care. The perception of many cardiologists working in large private practices is that there's no point in buying CT equipment that’s not 64-slice.”

The research report, entitled “Present Practices & Future Directions in Cardiac Imaging: The Cardiologist’s Perspective”, is a sequel to IMV's previous study with cardiologists in 2006. The new report includes more than 400 data points and explores the use of cardiac CT angiography, CT calcium scoring, cardiac MR and MR angiography, SPECT and SPECT/CT, PET and PET/CT, cardiac catheterization, and echocardiography in cardiology practices. The report highlights purchasing trends for office-based diagnostic imaging equipment (new and refurbished) by modality, and provides ratings of how specific vendor selection criteria influence capital investment in such decision.

Report highlights include:

• An estimated 69.1 percent of U.S. cardiologists order some CT angiography exams on a monthly basis, roughly consistent with the 71.5 percent reported in the 2006 survey

• The aggressive shifts of cardiac procedures to CT angiography and MR angiography have not occurred at the rate predicted by cardiologists in the 2006 survey. However, some shift of procedures continues to occur, particularly in the case of CT angiography.

• Despite recent declines in the overall number of SPECT procedures performed SPECT procedure volumes among responding cardiologists are stable or increasing. More than 60 percent of the cardiology practices represented in the survey sample presently own or lease at least one piece of SPECT or SPECT-CT equipment.

• Echocardiography continues to represent one of the top three diagnostic imaging modalities for 10 of the 12 cardiac conditions covered in the survey.

The report details procedure use and self-referral trends for specific diagnostic imaging modalities for a dozen key cardiac indications, including new and chronic angina, non-specific chest pain, congestive heart failure, survivors of myocardial infarction, post-CABG patients, and post-PCI patients.

For more information: www.imvinfo.com

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