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Relatório especial: Por que não os painéis lisos fizeram exame sobre?

por Carol Ko, Staff Writer | September 12, 2013
From the September 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Nevertheless, dynamic digital detectors will someday replace image intensifiers as OEMs engineer new dynamic imaging upgrade products and imaging providers adjust to the financial implications of health reform and purchase new equipment.

“Unless the economy picks up and they know what to expect from the government, I don’t think a wise hospital will spend money where they don’t have to,” says George Pardue, president of Imaging Affiliates.

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Down the tubes
Compared to the latest and greatest offerings in the imaging world today, X-ray tubes are downright ancient. They were originally invented more than 100 years ago by British physicist William Crookes when he discovered that his experimental electrical discharge tube contained cathode rays — what scientists later identified as electron streams.

This, in turn, led to Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery of X-rays in 1895 when he noticed that invisible rays coming from a Crookes tube wrapped in black photographic paper was making a nearby screen glow. He began to investigate these rays full-time and later won a Nobel Prize in physics for his research.

As X-ray became increasingly useful for medicine, workshops began manufacturing Crookes tubes. The tube’s anode was made of a heavy metal and was tilted at an angle to the cathode, so the X-rays would radiate through the side of the tube.

These cold cathode type X-ray tubes were used until about 1920, when they were replaced by the hot cathode Coolidge tube — what we know now as the modern X-ray tube.

Despite its centenarian status, the market for X-ray tubes continues to be robust, according to experts.

The biggest market for X-ray tubes is CT, which continues to be a preferred diagnostic tool used widely in emergency departments and oncology. Traditional radiographic rooms and X-rays continue to be a steady source of business as well.

“Portable machines and fixed radiographic machines continue, to this day, to make up a huge sector of the market space,” says Spees. “Just the sheer volume of the systems installed indicates there’s still a healthy robust replacement market for those,” he adds.

The global X-ray marketplace will remain stagnant through 2017 for new equipment sales, according to experts. However, sales aren’t necessarily tied to how well the new equipment market is doing.

“X-ray equipment tends to be pretty durable, so it’s not uncommon to have a static X-ray room that is well over 10 years old — after 10 years you’ll need a replacement,” says Spees.

And procedure volume remains strong, according to Varian’s Hurlock, who says it continues to grow by 5 percent a year.

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