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How Are Cardiovascular Devices Classified?


Nov. 19 2015, Published 4:52 p.m. ET


Cardiovascular devices are used to treat and diagnose heart disorders. In the United States, heart diseases and strokes are the first and fifth most prevalent causes of death, respectively. According to a 2015 report from the American Heart Association, about 85.6 million people in the US suffer from cardiovascular diseases (or CVD). Major drivers for the US cardiovascular device segment are an aging population, unhealthy lifestyle trends, and increasing demand for minimally invasive surgeries.

Cardiac rhythm management devices, interventional cardiac devices, and cardiac prosthetic devices are the major categories of cardiovascular devices.

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Cardiac rhythm management devices

The US cardiovascular device market is dominated by cardiac rhythm management (or CRM) devices. This trend is driven by factors such as prevalence of heart disorders, an aging population, rising awareness levels, and availability of infrastructure.

Micra transcatheter pacing system, a leadless pacemaker one-tenth the size of the predecessor devices is one of the recent innovations from Medtronic (MDT). This device is currently in the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) approval process, and it has already entered European markets.

Interventional cardiac diseases

According to Medtech Insight, in 2013, about 5.5 million procedures using diagnostic and therapeutic interventional cardiac devices (or ICD) were performed in the US. Corresponding ICD sales were about $3.8 billion in the US market in 2013 and are expected to reach about $4.3 billion in 2018. Stents account for the largest share of the total ICD device market.

Boston Scientific (BSX) earns the majority of its total revenues through its ICD business. In 2015, Boston Scientific also received FDA approval for a stroke treatment device named Watchman, which prevents clots from the heart from reaching the brain. Edwards Lifesciences (EW) and Medtronic are other dominant players in the ICD segment.

Cardiac prosthetic devices

Cardiac prosthetic devices (or CPD) are high-cost class three devices that go through stringent approval processes. Major players in the CPD market include Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical (STJ), and Boston Scientific Corporation.

One ETF that has significant exposure to the major players in the cardiovascular device segment is the iShares U.S. Medical Devices ETF (IHI).


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