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February 1, 2021

Cardiac rhythm management devices underperform in the US compared to the rest of the cardiovascular device sector

By GlobalData Healthcare

The cardiovascular medical devices market was initially devastated by Covid-19 lockdown measures early in March through May of 2020. Comparing the performance of each category of cardiovascular devices to the entire sector revealed that cardiac rhythm management devices consistently underperformed throughout the pandemic.

Initial opinions of the effect of Covid-19 on the medical devices market would be a consistent depression of device sales due to delayed or cancelled procedures, which would rebound in 2021, covering most of the losses incurred in 2020. However, most markets began recovering after the first wave eased up in June and lockdown restrictions began to be lifted. Generally, recovery of device sales was correlated with the severity of the diseases that warrant their usage. It has been reported that approximately 50% of people in the US will skip medical appointments if there are high incidences of Covid-19 in their area, and importantly, they are not rescheduling until Covid-19 levels drop. This largely explains the trends seen in cardiovascular device sales.

Based on sales trends of 2020, GlobalData estimates that cardiac rhythm management devices trailed the entire cardiovascular device sector on average by 20% throughout the year. This device category includes cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT), implantable cardioverter defibrillator devices (ICDs), implantable loop recorders (ILRs), and pacemakers. ILRs demonstrated the most significant reduction in sales volume. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, GlobalData predicted that ILRs will be the fastest-growing segment within cardiac rhythm management devices. ILRs have proven to be highly susceptible to influences by Covid-19, which will translate to slower market recovery and higher dependence on vaccinations before the market can recover.

Medtronic and Abbott are the two leading companies in the cardiac rhythm management device category. Abbott has already released its FY 2020 results, which revealed that its rhythm management group experienced an 8.2% decline in US revenue growth compared to FY 2019. Medtronic will release its results on 16 February, and if the company is similarly affected, it will translate to $220.5m of lost revenue compared to 2019.

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