Echo labs experiencing growth
Echocardiography procedures are surging, according to the Echocardiography Census Database and Market Summary Report recently published by IMV Medical Information Division.

In 2004, the study found that an estimated 11.5 millionechocardiography procedures were performed at the 3,155 sites that thestudy reviewed, which includes hospitals with 100 or more beds and 400cardiology practices. This total is an increase from the previous year,which has been the trend.

"Overall, echo utilization has grown steadily, with total procedures up5 percent annually from 10.35 million in 2002," said Lorna Young,senior director, Market Research in a release. "Concurrently,commercial contrast agent usage for echocardiography is morewidespread, with the proportion of echo sites using them increasingfrom 40 percent of sites in 2003 to 49 percent as of 2004. In addition,12 percent plan to start using commercial contrast in the next year. Ifall the sites that plan to use commercial contrast do so, 61 percent ofthe sites will be using commercial contrast agents."

At nearly half of the echo sites evaluated, equipment procurement andupgrading is on the rise, which includes both budgets for contrastagents and equipment. In addition, echo sites are expanding their useof networks to transmit images to multiple locations. Specifically,from 1999 to now, the number sites with networks grew from 6 percent to26 percent, according to the study.

For more information about the Echocardiography Census Database and Market Summary Report, visit