Top 6 Trends in Global CT Systems Market
By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 30 Jan 2017
Image: The Aquilion ONE Premium CT scanner (Photo courtesy of Toshiba Medical Systems).
The global medical computed tomography (CT) systems market is valued at USD 4.9 billion for 2016 and should continue to grow about twice as fast as other medical devices, driven by product improvements, growing clinical applications, an aging population with significant diagnostic needs, and rising incidence of chronic disease. These are the latest findings of Kalorama Information, an independent medical market research firm, which has identified the top six trends shaping the global CT systems market.
Adoption of high slice-count systems: Amidst the increased focus on cutting healthcare and hospital costs, spending twice as much on 256- or 320-slice CT systems for clinical applications such as cardiac imaging when a 64-slice system is sufficient for a cardiac diagnosis may appear unnecessary. However, users of 256- or 320-slice systems can vouch for their superior image quality and better diagnostic capability in CT angiography.
Software-aided dose reduction: Since CT exams add to a patient's lifetime exposure to ionizing radiation, dosing remains an issue for the increased use for these systems. Currently, CT systems feature various technologies, such as iterative reconstruction software, intra-operativity, and dose-tracking software to reduce the amount of emitted radiation as well as the number of unnecessary scans.
Clinical application in pediatrics: Over the past few years, there has been a decrease in the clinical application of CT in pediatrics. Apart from the difficulty in deciding the extent of further reduction in the rates due to limited evidence about the appropriateness of most CT procedures, radiation doses from pediatric CT also vary widely in clinical practice. However, this presents an opportunity to reduce doses through standardized protocols and other processes. By implementing readily available dose-reduction strategies, as well as eliminating unnecessary imaging, it will be possible to significantly reduce future radiation-induced cancers caused by the use of CT in pediatrics.
High-speed systems: The increase in clinical utilization of CT has been drive by improvement in image quality and speed, and robustness and utility of the CT technique. There has been a significant improvement in the speed with which 3D volume can be imaged, as well as in routine spatial resolution in the slice direction, owing to helical scanning and multi-detector row CT. This, coupled with various other technological advances, has resulted in CT imaging speed increasing by more than seven orders of magnitude since it was first introduced in the early 1970s. The increase in speed, combined with improvement in low-contrast detectability and image quality, has resulted in the technique becoming more robust and allowing CT to become mainstream in medical care.
Improved resolution with smart photons: CT systems are limited by "crosstalk" based on their use of reflectors. Direct conversion photon counting detectors, each photon creates a number of charge carriers in the semiconductor in proportion to the energy deposited. Charge carriers produced in the semiconductor follow electric field lines to prevent crosstalk, as a result of which, these detectors avoid the geometric inefficiencies in scintillator-photodiode detectors currently used in commercial systems and help achieve better spatial resolution.
Portable CT units: Portable CT is expected to become a standard of care in the next decade as rapid diagnosis and treatment play an increasingly important role in improving the health outcomes for patients and reducing health care costs. Portable head CT imaging is particularly gaining importance in aiding diagnosis and treatment of patients with cranial pathology, as bringing the modality to the patient increases imaging speed and safety, which is critical in neurologic emergencies.