The Class I recall of Abbott’s HeartMate touch communication system involves more than 1,500 devices distributed between 2020 and 2024 and could negatively impact future sales in the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) market. This market was worth $798.6 million in 2023 and is expected to reach sales of $1.15 billion in 2033 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7%, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The recall is a result of unexpected pump starts and stops due to a disconnection between the touch system and the controller. So far, there have been eight injuries and no deaths associated with these disconnections. The current recall is not a product removal but is instead a product correction of the communication capabilities.

The ageing population is driving the growth of the LVAD market

It is very unlikely that patients will move away from the HeartMate product line as a result of this singular incident because of Abbott’s dominance in this market and the necessity of this vital system. However, continuing issues like this in the future could weaken Abbott’s hold on the market if other reliable LVAD products become available.

The growth of the LVAD market shows no signs of slowing down and is driven by the increased prevalence of heart failure due to the ageing population and the shortage of hearts for transplantation. Additionally, mortality rates in LVAD procedures have decreased significantly, increasing interest in the procedure. Abbott currently holds a monopoly on the LVAD market, making up approximately 99% of the market. That number is expected to remain relatively steady, but other similar incidents could give further opportunities to smaller competitors in this space, such as Jarvik Heart, which occupies 0.7% of the market with its LVAD product, Jarvik 2000.

Despite the unfavourable circumstances of this recall, Abbott will continue to grow its LVAD market value in the short term. However, occurrences such as these can have long-term impacts on sales. Depending on the severity of these types of incidents, confidence in these products may decrease, causing some of the user base to look to alternative LVAD products. While this is unlikely to have any significant effect on Abbott even in the long term, this can still provide opportunities for growth for smaller players.

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