Report: Poor health to fuel CRM device growth

We know that the global boom in sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets or habits (see: smoking) is producing a surge in folks with hypertension, diabetes and obesity. This, in turn, is giving the world many more people with cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. And the medical device industry will benefit significantly as a result, according to a report from GBI Research.

The analyst firm concludes that the increase in those conditions will likely drive steadily expanding demand for cardiac rhythm monitoring devices in the years to come. GBI values the CRM devices market at $11.3 billion as of 2010, but sees the segment easily growing to $15.7 billion by 2017. The firm notes that the U.S. market represents about half of the global market for CRM devices as of 2010, and expects that segment to expand to $6.5 billion by 2017.

Translated, companies including Boston Scientific ($BSX), St. Jude Medical, Biotronik and others in the CRM space who make pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices stand to gain big here, the report argues. In the immediate term, however, some companies may disagree. St. Jude CEO Daniel Starks blamed lower earnings for cardiac rhythm management devices in the company's fiscal 2011 fourth quarter, in part, on a global market for the sector that he said shrank about 4% during the year.

GBI argues that another factor will be involved in increasing demand for cardiac rhythm monitoring devices: innovations and improvements that allow their use in more people, such as miniature MRI compatible and wireless devices, which free up patients to be monitored remotely.

"Over 60 products are currently in the pipeline, including first-in-market product developments, reflecting the increasing focus of manufacturers on research and development efforts," GBI notes in its report summary.

Still, GBI emphasizes that more unhealthy patients will play a primary role in increased CRM use. The firm cites statistics from the World Health Organization that estimate 23.6 million people will die each year from cardiovascular disease and strokes by 2030. The aging process does play a role, GBI notes, but just as many heart conditions come from lifestyle choices that lead to hypertension, diabetes and obesity.

- here's the release