The adoption of 64-slice CT scanners by U.S. cardiology practices has more than doubled over the past two years, according to a report released this month by market research firm IMV Medical Information Division.
The survey found that 45 percent of the cardiology practices surveyed presently own or lease CT scanners, reporting an average of about two units per practice among those who have the modality. Only 23.5 percent of the practices surveyed in 2006 owned or leased CT equipment at that time, with an average of 1.4 units per practice that had such equipment.
“The majority of CT units out there in the cardiology practices now are 64-slice units,” observed Mary C. Patton, director of market research at IMV. “It's extremely important for today’s cardiology practice to offer state-of-the-art imaging capabilities to maintain or improve its competitive edge and provide the best possible patient care. The perception of many cardiologists working in large private practices is that there's no point in buying CT equipment that’s not 64-slice.”
The research report explored the use of coronary CT angiography (CCTA), CT calcium scoring, cardiac MR and MR angiography (MRA), SPECT and SPECT/CT, PET and PET/CT, cardiac catheterization and echocardiography in cardiology practices. The Des Plaines, Ill.-based IMV said that those surveyed revealed that:
- An estimated 69.1 percent of U.S. cardiologists order CCTA exams monthly, roughly consistent with the 71.5 percent reported in the 2006 survey;
- The aggressive shifts of cardiac procedures to CCTA and MRA have not occurred at the rate predicted by cardiologists in the 2006 survey. However, some shift of procedures continues to occur, particularly in the case of CCTA;
- Despite recent declines in the overall number of SPECT procedures, SPECT procedure volumes among responding cardiologists are stable or increasing. More than 60 percent of the cardiology practices represented in the survey sample presently own or lease at least one piece of SPECT or SPECT/CT equipment; and
- Echocardiography continues to represent one of the top three diagnostic imaging modalities for 10 of the 12 cardiac conditions covered in the survey.
The research report is a sequel to IMV's previous study of imaging use by cardiologists in 2006.