A Medical Device Daily

A new study by Frost & Sullivan (London), notes that the Eastern European cardiac rhythm management (CRM) devices market is expanding slowly.

The report, Eastern European CRM Devices Market, says that accession by Eastern European nations to the European Union (EU), coupled with greater awareness of arrhythmia, is boosting market prospects.

However, consolidation at the global level, pricing pressures and technological concerns continue to pose challenges to market growth, according to the global consulting firm.

The study indicates that the market had revenues of $50.5 million in 2006, expected to reach $75.5 million by 2013.

"Demand for CRM devices is rising due to the increased incidence of arrhythmia," said F&S Research Analyst Sowmya Rajagopalan. "At the same time, manufacturer-driven trainings, workshops and symposiums are boosting awareness of the disease and its available treatments, providing a fillip to the uptake of CRM devices in the region."

Membership in the EU has opened the doors to better quality products and new technologies, Frost & Sullivan said. "At the same time, widespread industry consolidation is having a positive impact on product pricing and quality."

Rajagopalan's report said, however, that technical constraints could dampen market growth.

"CRM devices act as life-saving devices for a specified period depending upon the lifespan of the battery," the report said. "Currently, these batteries have a short life cycle, thus increasing the need for repeat implantations. Due to their technological sophistication, these products are highly priced. As a result, such repeat procedures aggravate already burgeoning healthcare expenditures."

Rajagopalan added: "The mounting pressure to reduce prices and gain market share presents another challenge. [And] reimbursement rules that aim to curb spiraling healthcare expenditure, have effected reduced funding allocations for these implantations."

Another key is the lack of awareness of such devices, which has resulted in limited demand. "Market participants will need to cooperate with each other in conducting symposiums and workshops to raise awareness levels among both patients and physicians," the report said.

"Industry participants should invest in R&D to develop combination devices with the major focus being on extending battery life," advised. Rajagopalan. "Companies should also develop monitoring devices to assist physicians in tracking the health records of their patients," she added.

More gains in German market

EDAP TMS (Lyon, France), which is focused on high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment of prostate cancer with its Ablatherm-HIFU system, said it continues to penetrate the German HIFU market.

Recent activities including the company's HIFU tour and regional congress presence as it continues to sign the largest regional healthcare centers in that country as Ablatherm-HIFU users.

The company said it sees a growing patient population being treated in most German HIFU centers in the first half of 2007 compared to 2006, primarily driven by "aggressive and effective patient outreach with EDAP's public relations company in Hamburg."

The company said results include two press conferences, a TV show and more than 30 articles on Ablatherm-HIFU in the German press, reaching a readership of 32 million. The PR campaign increased visits on the German HIFU Planet web site by more than 400% in the course of 10 months.

EDAP recently signed three new mobile revenue-per-procedure (RPP) contracts with large clinics and hospitals, mainly prostate cancer populations in regions where HIFU has not been locally available to date.

Hanseklinikum Stralsund GmbH was signed as a mobile RPP site. Stralsund is a large urology center in northeast Germany near the Baltic Sea. Ablatherm services also will begin this summer at Robert-Koch-Krankenhaus Gehrden, part of the Region Hannover GmbH group. Hannover is in the heart of Germany, and the hospital is the first HIFU user in this area.

Ablatherm-HIFU treatments also will begin this summer at Klinikum Kempten-Oberallgaeu, a large urology department situated in the south of Germany. It also is the first HIFU center in the region.

New network infrastructure for Nuffield Hospitals

Extreme Networks (Santa Clara, California) said it is working with specialist integrator Scalable Networks to assist Nuffield Hospitals , described as the UK's largest network of charitable, independent hospitals, to design and implement a high-performance wired and wireless network infrastructure connecting 40 separate hospital sites.

The new solution can enable Nuffield Hospitals to provide real-time monitoring of patients, allowing records to be automatically updated at the bedside and enabling access to X-rays and scans to be stored electronically and viewed on screens, so that health professionals can access the information and compare it with previous images at the touch of a button.

The California firm said the solution delivers a network that is well-fortified, with bandwidth, security and high availability features, to support both the traditional voice/video-over-IP technologies, as well as essential specialized healthcare applications such as PACS/RIS, wireless IPT and wireless medical diagnostics equipment.

Extreme Networks said its Summit fixed switching platform will provide "a robust and intelligent network foundation" for Nuffield Hospitals. The project will involve the deployment of multiple gigabits of core switching capacity in each of the 40 sites.

CE mark for Nexfin line

BMEYE (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) reported receiving CE-mark approval for its Nexfin line of hemodynamic monitors, providing continuous non-invasive blood pressure and cardiac output monitoring.

The Nexfin family of monitors uses a finger sensor to produce accurate continuous non-invasive blood pressure and cardiac output data displayed on a touchscreen.

"[We were] established to develop and market innovative technology that will transform the practice of medicine in hemodynamic patient monitoring. The CE-mark approval [enables] us to market the Nexfin to cardiologists and any clinician who needs to measure continuous non-invasive blood pressure and cardiac output easily and accurately," said Bill Bednarski, CEO.