The global contrast enhanced ultrasound market size is expected to reach a valuation of USD 2,688.90 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 4.12% during the forecast period (2022–2030). The introduction of ultrasonic contrast medium to regular medical sonography is called contrast enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS). Ultrasound contrast agents rely on the various ways in which sound waves are reflected from material interfaces. This could be the surface of a bit of air bubble or something more complicated. Gas-filled microbubbles are delivered intravenously to the systemic circulation in a commercially available contrast medium.
The echogenicity of microbubbles is very high (the ability of an object to reflect ultrasound waves). The echogenicity of the gas in the microbubbles and the soft tissue surrounding the body are vastly different. Due to the significant echogenicity difference, ultrasonic imaging with microbubble contrast agents intensifies the ultrasound backscatter (reflection) of the ultrasound waves, resulting in a sonogram with higher contrast. Contrast enhanced ultrasonography can be used to assess blood perfusion in organs and estimate blood flow rate in the heart and other organs.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the globe. According to the World Health Organization, around 18 million people die each year due to cardiovascular disease. Due to increased patient referrals for contrast enhanced ultrasonography procedures, frequent monitoring of left ventricular volume (LVV) and ejection fraction (LVEF) is critical in determining the timing and type of treatment administered to a patient with cardiovascular problems.
Despite modern ultrasound imaging techniques such as harmonic imaging, patients' LV and LVEF values are frequently underestimated because of inadequate endocardial border delineation. As a result, the market for contrast enhanced ultrasonography is forecast to rise due to the rising need for sensitive and reliable diagnostic tools in the quantitative measurement of ventricular capacity in cardiac patients.
Contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging is also extensively utilized in oncology to determine tumor size, location, and blood flow. They are also used to help plan surgical procedures by distinguishing between malignant and benign tumors. Antitumor drug delivery by ultrasonic contrast agents is also studied in many preclinical investigations.
Another promising clinical investigation is the sonoporation-induced administration of neurology medicines utilizing contrast agents. The blood-brain barrier is enhanced via sonoporation. As a result, one of the key causes driving demand for contrast enhanced ultrasound systems is the predominance of chronic illnesses such as cardiac disease, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and other neurological disorders.
Previously, the ultrasound contrast agent has only been approved for an adult echocardiogram, liver ultrasonography, and urinary tract ultrasonography in pediatric patients with vesicoureteral reflux. The FDA approved ultrasound contrast agents for echocardiograms in pediatric patients in December 2019. Radiation exposure, contrast agent toxicity, and the requirement for sedation are all risks associated with pediatric contrast CT/MRI. Because ultrasound is a simple, radiation-free, less noisy, and highly patient-friendly imaging modality, it can address these difficulties.
As a result of the approval of ultrasound contrast agents for use in pediatric patients, the market is likely to develop at a healthy rate over the forecast period. Also, market growth is expected to be aided by the rising incidence of congenital cardiac disease. Congenital cardiac disease affects around one out of every hundred children.
Despite the benefits of contrast enhanced ultrasound technology, several drawbacks are slowing down its acceptance. Sonologist abilities are required for a successful contrast enhanced ultrasound diagnostic. To avoid unsatisfactory contrast enhanced ultrasound images, operators should carefully monitor factors like mechanical index, patient posture, and fat. A high mechanical index, for example, can destroy the microbubbles, resulting in misleading hypo-enhancement and possibly a mistaken diagnosis.
Contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging is also a time-consuming procedure that requires additional time for contrast agent preparation and injection and the installation of an intravenous catheter, restricting its usage in emergencies. Also, the annual procedure volume of contrast enhanced ultrasonography is likely to be considerably impacted due to the lack of ultrasound-based modalities in clinics and the global shortage of qualified sonologists.
The development of second-generation contrast agents has simplified the workflow of ultrasonic contrast imaging, allowing the organization that deals to capitalize on significant market growth opportunities. The low mechanical index of second-generation contrast agents means they stay in circulation for longer, allowing for real-time contrast imaging. In addition, to increase diagnostic specificity and sensitivity, ultrasound equipment makers are rapidly implementing innovative software solutions and image processing algorithms into their devices.
For example, Siemens Healthineers' Acuson Sequoia ultrasound system features BioAcoustic imaging technology, which extends the life of the contrast agent, allowing the sonologist more time to see incidental lesions. Also, the gadget has a contrast pulse sequence technology that delivers outstanding flash and tissue suppressions, resulting in high-resolution contrast images.
COVID-19 positively influenced the contrast enhanced ultrasound market growth, owing to the growing number of patients suffering from the outbreak. Due to the logistics of cross-sectional imaging, lung ultrasound has become a vital tool for rapid bedside assessment in critically ill patients. It has also been helpful in the assessment of COVID-19.
Contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) further describes COVID-19's sonographic characteristics as several regions of infarction, a finding that is not replicated by other commonly available imaging modalities. CEUS also has the advantages of being inexpensive, radiation-free, without the risk of nephrotoxicity, and being conducted at the patient's bedside. Thus, the adoption of CEUS in the assessment of COVID-19 patients has grown its demand by supporting the market growth during the pandemic.
The post-pandemic phase will be significant for the global contrast enhanced ultrasound market growth. The market will face a slight slowdown in growth as the number of COVID-19 patients decreases. Other reasons, such as the rising prevalence of chronic disorders, will continue to drive CEUS market growth over the forecast period. Overall, the global contrast enhanced ultrasound market will recover quickly, showing positive signs of growth post-pandemic.
The global contrast enhanced ultrasound market share has been classified based on the product, type, end-use, and regions.
The contrast enhanced ultrasound market has been segmented into product-based equipment and contrast agents. The equipment segment is expected to dominate the global market of contrast enhanced ultrasound, and it is projected to reach USD 621.25 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 4.55% during the forecast. CEUS workflow has been simplified due to the advent of new ultrasound devices with transducer technology and nonlinear imaging techniques, driving the market growth of contrast enhanced ultrasound.
The contrast enhanced ultrasound market has been segmented into targeted and non-targeted, based on type. The non-targeted segment is expected to dominate the global market of contrast enhanced ultrasound, and it is projected to reach USD 617.05 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 4.65% during the forecast.
Because it is the most popular method of CEUS imaging, all of the ultrasonic contrast agents that have been approved are non-targeted. They're usually employed to improve diagnostic sensitivity, determine blood volume and flow in the target location, and distinguish between malignant and benign liver tumors. Thus, the growing adoption of the non-targeted segment is expected to drive the market over the forecast period.
The contrast enhanced ultrasound market has been segmented into hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory diagnostic, based on end use. The hospital segment is expected to dominate the global market of contrast enhanced ultrasound, and it is projected to reach USD 590.06 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 4.76% during the forecast. The rising demand for CEUS in hospitals due to increased emergency visits for medical illnesses such as abdominal discomfort, abdominal/thoracic injuries, and cardiac issues is expected to drive the market growth over the forecast period.
The global contrast enhanced ultrasound market share has been segregated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
With a market value of USD 645.03 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 6.50%, North America is expected to be the largest market for contrast enhanced ultrasound. CEUS imaging has long been employed in cardiac and abdominal imaging in North America. Still, it is gaining traction now that it has been approved to assess liver lesions.
Also, implementing many education and training programs for sonologists and radiologists in the region relevant to the diagnostic and therapeutic application of CEUS is expected to boost market growth over the forecast period. The United States is expected to contribute majorly to North American market growth. The U.S has well-established medical codes, payment methods, and coverage rules for ultrasound services in hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory centers.
In addition, incentives are available for general practitioners and family physicians who adopt ultrasounds in their offices. The number of ultrasound procedures performed in the United States has increased. The country's demand for contrast enhanced ultrasonography is forecast to rise as cardiovascular illnesses, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) grows.
With an expected market value of USD 639.45 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 4.31%, Europe is expected to be the second-largest market for contrast enhanced ultrasound. After the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB) produced guidelines outlining and advocating novel applications of contrast enhanced ultrasound technology, the number of contrast enhanced ultrasound treatments in Europe increased even further. Moreover, the market is likely to grow due to the recent approval of contrast agents for pediatric use in Europe.
The United Kingdom is expected to contribute majorly to the overall European market growth. The market is foreseen to increase rapidly as contrast enhanced ultrasound technology replaces conventional ultrasound in the United Kingdom. According to NHS data, ultrasound imaging accounted for almost 60% of all G.P. referrals for imaging tests in the U.K. in November 2018. The availability of adequate reimbursement policies and the rising burden of chronic conditions are driving up the number of ultrasound treatments.
Furthermore, contrast enhanced ultrasound scans for the abdomen, pelvis, kidneys, and bladder yield better results. The country's demand for contrast enhanced ultrasonography is likely to rise as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders frequency rises. For example, in 2021, roughly 7.6 million individuals in the U.K. were living with heart and circulatory disorders, while around 17 million people were diagnosed with gastrointestinal infections, according to U.K. government data.