Defibrillators are used for the process of defibrillation, which is a treatment for life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias. In layman's terms, this is a problem with the rate or rhythm of one’s heartbeat due to a shift in the heart’s normal sequence of electrical impulses. Sudden cardiac arrest kills 475,000 Americans per year, which amounts to roughly 1,300 people each day in the US. This number is up by 300 per day since 2006, when ABC News reported that cardiac arrest killed 1,000 Americans every day, meaning: “More people die from sudden cardiac arrest than from breast cancer, prostate cancer, AIDS, house fires, handguns and traffic accidents combined.”
Though many dysrhythmias are considered harmless and can be left untreated, Baptist Health notes that “the availability of permanent pacemakers, implanted cardioversion/defibrillation devices and effective medications has improved the prognosis for many people with serious cardiac dysrhythmias” and has thus helped bring down the number of victims of sudden cardiac arrest.
Defibrillators — devices that send an electric pulse or shock to the heart when it begins to beat abnormally — have actually been around for many centuries. Cardiac Science notes that as early as 1775, scientists were experimenting with chickens to see if their hearts could be started and stopped. However, it wasn’t until 1947 that defibrillation was successfully done on a human being; in 1978, sensors were developed to detect ventricular fibrillation; and in 2004, Cardiac Science released the first fully automatic public access defibrillator.
The external defibrillator market is now valued at a whopping $3,926.5 million, according to the market analysis report. That is a major figure to rack up in just a matter of decades, and there are a few reasons why. One is the aging global population. “The growing geriatric population is an important factor fueling the growth of the market,” explains a news release accompanying the report. “In many countries around the world, the geriatric population is growing at a rapid pace. Japan, China, and the US have the largest, second-largest, and third-largest population of geriatric people, respectively, in the world.” The growing geriatric population represents a growing number of people vulnerable to chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.
However, shifting demographics isn’t the only factor in boosting growth. According to the market analysis, technological and development improvements within the industry are also driving growth. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have become significantly more sophisticated over the past few years. One example the market analysis points to is ZOLL Medical Corporation’s LifeVest, a lightweight wearable defibrillator that became incredibly popular among people at risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
“The main advantage of this device over the conventionally used defibrillators is that it continuously monitors the heart of the patient and delivers shocks if the heart rhythm becomes abnormal,” explains the news release. Additionally, devices like the LiveVest eliminate the requirement to have separate pacemakers implanted within pacemakers. Thus: “These technological innovations in defibrillator technology have tremendously boosted the progress of the market.
This year by no means represents the end of growth for the global defibrillators market. In fact, market analysis predicts that revenues will reach $9.45 billion in 2030. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 8.5% for the next decade. What’s driving this growth is exactly what’s pushed the market toward success in the past: innovation and an average lengthening lifespan. Due to the predicted explosion of its senior population (a 2018 report from the Population Reference Bureau predicted that the US's over-65 base would increase from 46 million to 98 million from 2014 to 2060), North America is anticipated to lead market growth.
However, growth is expected all around the world, leading to one final prediction: “With the soaring investments being made by the governments of many countries in the healthcare industry and the rising usage of advanced instruments in healthcare applications, the market will exhibit consistent growth in the forthcoming years.”
About the Author
Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.