In the world of cardiovascular devices, growth is generally created by sudden technological advancements that provide treatment to a previously untreated disease, or by slow, incremental advancements that allow access to more and more patients in a disease population. However, most of these markets eventually slow down and are restrained by the relatively static size of their population. This is why electrophysiology is so interesting.

While currently relatively small at $4.6B this year, it is expected to consistently grow at an extremely high rate of 4.60% in the foreseeable future, leading to a market size of $5.8B in five years.

A cardiac arrhythmia is a disease where the heart beats too quickly, slowly, or at an irregular rate due to malformations in the conductive signal pathways of the heart. Electrophysiology is the field of treating cardiac arrhythmias by ablating, or removing, conductive tissue that is causing this issue. It is a relatively non-invasive procedure with a very quick recovery time of about 24 hours, but a relatively high upfront cost.

It has recently become of great interest in the medical devices field as advancements in technology have allowed doctors to more easily and effectively identify and ablate troublesome material. This has resulted in a huge spike in growth of electrophysiology treatments at the expense of pharmacological treatments.

Image: Electrophysiology devices: Global Overview. Source: GlobalData

The distinguishing factor is that arrhythmias are far more common in elderly patients than in the younger population. This means that, although in certain areas the saturation of treatment is very high, the number of patients suffering from arrhythmias will continue to grow due to the population ageing. Because of this, as the population of the world continues to increase and life expectancies lengthen, the number of electrophysiological procedures being conducted will only grow.

Furthermore, the relatively low penetration in the APAC region, amongst others, means that the electrophysiology market can still enjoy a very high growth rate as it continues to grow its market share. These high growths can be attributed to the increasing wealth of these areas, as well as the improvements in healthcare infrastructure and purchasing power. The increasing education of the resident populations regarding diseases and their treatment will also play a major role in the continued development of these areas.

Electrophysiology devices market growth made possible by competing technologies

Competition within this sphere will still remain intense, however, as competing technologies evolve to out-perform one another. Traditionally, electrophysiology catheters have used radiofrequency (RF) ablation techniques to ablate troublesome tissue. However, more recently cryoablative and laser ablation technologies have been developed that are easier or more effective for physicians to use. As such, the electrophysiology market is expected to remain a highly competitive and dynamic market for years to come.

To summarise, electrophysiology is uniquely positioned amongst cardiovascular devices to enjoy both explosive and sustained growth across the international markets due to a combination of as-yet unsaturated markets, the cannibalisation of revenue from less-effective pharmacological treatments, as well as a constantly growing patient population due to the overall ageing of the world’s population.