Report: continued surge seen for high field MRI

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An estimated 26.6 million MRI procedures were performed at 7,225 sites in 2006, according to research organization IMV’s recent census of MRI sites in the U.S.  This jump is a 10 percent increase from the 24.2 million in 2003. This makes for an average annualized rate of 3 percent per year, and compared to 2003, the procedures showing the most growth are brain, spine, and vascular (MRAs), IMV said.

“Technology developments that enhance clinical applications will be critical to driving MRI market demand. High field MRI systems with field strengths of 1.5T (Telsa) or above are the most favored configurations, with 1.5T units accounting for 78 percent and very high field strength units of >1.5T accounting for 12 percent of the MRI units installed in 2006,” said Lorna Young, senior director, Market Research at IMV. Young added that though the Deficit Act Reduction Act 2005 cuts went into effect last month, “hospital-based MRI departments will most likely replace and expand their clinical capabilities, while the independent imaging centers may be delaying purchases, as they evaluate the impact of the DRA on their operations.”

IMV's 2006 MRI Market Summary Report covers adoption trends of new procedures such as echo planar imaging, MR spectroscopy, cardiac-approved MRI, functional MRI, and multi-channel MRI. For example:

  • Fifty-three percent of future fixed MRI purchases are planned to be replacement of existing units, 13 percent will be first time buyers and 34 percent will be purchasing additional systems;
  • Last year 84 percent of all MRI procedures were performed on an outpatient basis as opposed to 16 percent inpatient;
  • Of the MRI procedures performed in 2006, 45 percent used contrast media; and
  • IMV found that MRI systems are replaced every 8.1 years.

The report also looks at trends in procedure utilization, the MRI installed base and purchase plans, workstations, contrast media utilization and budgets, power injectors, and site operations characteristics, IMV said. For more information visit