Gadolinium (Gd) is found as a rare earth metal, which is tough to extract, and it appears like a silvery white crystal. It is one of the few metals with ferromagnetic properties at room temperature. Like most of the rare earth metals, gadolinium forms trivalent ions with fluorescent properties. Gadolinium is used for shielding in neutron radiography and in nuclear reactor as it absorbs neutrons. Therefore, applications of the metal are seen in oven, microwave, and other electronic components. In medical field, it is utilized merely in the form of solution composites for radiological images enhancement. The gadolinium ions that occur in water soluble salts are toxic to human. But chelated Gd compounds are less toxic to human body as they are filtered out of the kidneys before the free ions get released into the tissue. This property of Gd increases its use in the medical field, where it is used as intravenous drug in diagnostic imaging procedures to enhance the quality of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The global gadolinium-based contrast agent market is a fairly matured market and is expected to witness a significant growth in the near future. The growth of the market is likely to be driven during the forecast period by the rising prevalence of chronic diseases such as cardiac diseases and cancer.
The global gadolinium-based contrast agent market is segmented on the basis of contrast agent type, disease indication, end-user, and geography. On the basis of contrast agent type, the market is divided into linear non-ionic agent, linear ionic, macrocyclic non-ionic, and macrocyclic ionic. The rates of dissociation of Gd from macrocyclic ligands are slower than the dissociation from linear ligands. Higher the dissociation constant, there is more possibility of de-chelating and release of free Gd ions into the body which may lead to serious adverse events. Therefore, linear gadolinium-based contrast agents are widely preferred for MRI scans.
On the basis of disease indication, the market is segmented into cardiovascular disorders, neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, nephrological disorders, and others. The cardiovascular disorders segment accounted for a large share of the global market and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. Advancements in cardiac MRI procedures in catheterization labs and promising reimbursement scenario for contrast agent products used during cardiovascular diagnosis along with highly developed health care infrastructure in countries such as Germany, the U.K., the U.S., and Canada are factors fueling the growth of the cardiovascular disorders segment. According to a survey of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 735,000 people have a heart attack in the U.S. Out of this number, 525,000 are the first heart attacks and 210,000 happen in people who have already suffered a heart attack. In addition, growth of the segment is attributed to the rise in number of diagnostic procedures coupled with the increase in disease burden in developing countries. In terms of end-user, the market is segmented into hospitals, specialty clinics, diagnostic centers, and others.
Geographically, the global gadolinium-based contrast agent market is distributed over North America (the U.S. and Canada), Europe (Germany, France, the U.K., and others), Asia Pacific (Australia, China, Japan, India, and others), Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America dominated the market in terms of revenue. North America was followed by Europe and is expected to register a high growth of the market. Emerging markets such as Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa are expected to record a robust growth during the forecast period owing to growing health care industry and aging population, which consequently are projected to result in the increase of patient population. India, China, and Brazil are likely to drive a significant growth of the market among the emerging countries owing to increase in investments by government bodies in order to enhance health care facilities.
Major players operating in this market are GE Healthcare, Bayer HealthCare, Guerbet, Bracco Diagnostic Inc., and Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc.
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