Defibrillators for home use could mean revenue growth

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Although a very small and relatively new area of the home care products market, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for use at home boast the highest forecasted annual growth in the home care segment, according to healthcare market research publisher Kalorama Information.

The home AED market is expected to expand by 17.1 percent annually through 2014, compared with a more modest annual growth of 2.2 percent for the entire home care products market during the same time period, according to the report.

While AEDs have long been used in hospitals, ambulances, care facilities and even airplanes, they also are now beginning to be used at home. This is an important development, since 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home, said report authors.

In 2004, Physio-Control and Philips Healthcare launched the home defibrillator market with the former company's introduction of Lifepak, a prescription defibrillator for home use sold at Walgreens and Costco, and the latter's subsequent FDA approval to sell its HeartStart Home Defibrillator without a doctor's prescription.

"Although sales remain small compared with other home healthcare markets, the home defibrillator market is growing briskly as consumers become increasingly aware of the existence of these devices," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "Sales will also be helped along by the mounting number of private insurers and Medicare that are including them in their coverage."

Kalorama Information estimated manufacturers' sales of AEDs for home use at $34.6 million in 2009. Sales are expected to continue to grow as home use becomes more commonplace, more competitors enter the market and home defibrillators become a staple supply for individuals with atrial fibrillation.