Report: Contrast-enhanced CT for H1N1 influences market

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CT is being utilized as an adjunctive tool in the evaluation of patients presenting with complicated H1N1 flu cases in hospitals, which can be positive for both the technology and contrast agent manufacturers, said life sciences market research group Kalorama Information.

The report estimated the sales of CT contrast agents in the U.S. to have reached $880 million in 2009.

After the review of thousands of patient records from various facilities, Kalorama noted the H1N1 flu to be a cause of pulmonary embolism--which could lead to H1N1 related deaths--but also found contrast-enhanced CT to be a recommended evaluation method for patients presenting with respiratory complications.

“This is one of many areas where the agent-enhanced CT scan is playing a supporting role in diagnosis,” said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama. “Physicians are increasingly comfortable with CT when a diagnosis is not clear from other modalities.”

In terms of contrast agent manufacturers, GE Healthcare, Covidien, Bayer and Guerbet were noted in the report as being among the largest companies on the market. Kalorama estimated that over 54.5 million imaging procedures were performed in the U.S. last year, most requiring a type of contrast agent.