By Lanier Norville

According to Millennium Research Group (MRG), a recent surge of buying replacement anesthesia systems has slowed down, leading to a dip in revenues in the united States anesthesia device and information system market in 2012 and 2013. But the researcher predicts a return to growth in 2014. The most growth through 2017 will occur in sales of level of consciousness (LoC) monitors and anesthesia information systems (AIS).

The anesthesia delivery machine segment is mature, particularly in hospitals, so the majority of sales are replacement sales – when a healthcare facility wants to upgrade its equipment. In 2008, GE Healthcare and Dräger Medical, both market leaders, discontinued some of their popular anesthesia delivery machines, but announced a grace period of around two years before service and maintenance would no longer be provided for these models. As a result, many facilities accelerated their replacement schedules. This bump in sales tapered off in 2012, and revenues will decline as a result.

In contrast to the mature anesthesia delivery machine segment, the AIS and LoC monitor markets are less saturated, and will be driven by the increasing penetration of these devices. Sales of AIS will benefit from the meaningful use incentive program, which promotes the adoption of healthcare IT systems. Several innovative competitors,, including Picis and Surgical Information Systems have developed products for this segment. LoC monitors will grow relatively rapidly, as hospitals seek to improve dose management in anesthesia.

“This is a heavily integrated market, with GE Healthcare, Covidien and Dräger Medical being the largest competitors,” said MRG Analyst Michelle Chan. “Covidien recently gained market share through the purchase of Aspect Medical System, which had the largest share in the growing LoC monitoring market. As more ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) are established in the U.S., this more price-conscious customer type will increase sales for moderately priced systems. For example, Mindray Medical International has been increasing sales to ASCs, particularly in anesthesia monitors, because of its competitive prices.”

Global Information Inc.’s forecast indicated that the worldwide anesthesia market would reach approximately 7.3 billion by 2015. The market researcher reported steadily increasing safety awareness and technology enhancements in anesthesia machines as drivers of growth in the global market. Healthcare facilities and hospitals are gradually transitioning toward higher-end equipment, with the aid of government funding, according to the report. Higher-end anesthesia equipment will become more common, characterizing the market and the focus of manufacturers’ research and development efforts in the years to come.