Pharmacologic stress agents are employed in pharmacologic stress testing such as cardiovascular stress test, which is used along with well-known imaging modalities such as echocardiography (ECG) and radionuclide imaging tests. Cardiovascular stress test is an advanced version of exercise testing using treadmill bicycle exercise in coordination with blood pressure monitoring and ECG. The pharmacologic stress agent and nuclear tracer are injected through intravenous (IV) line while the heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG are monitored continuously before the test as well as during and after the test is completed. The most commonly used pharmacologic stress agents are adenosine, dobutamine, dipyridamole, and regadenoson, which functions as cardiac vasodilators. These pharmacologic stress agents are involved in dilation of coronary vessels, increasing the velocity and flow rate of the blood in blood vessels while exhibiting less response in case of stenotic vessels. This difference in response results into steal of flow and this perfusion defect is detected in nuclear scans.
Adenosine is commonly found in human tissues which functions to regulate blood flow in myocardium and other vascular beds. Dipyridamole works by increasing intravascular adenosine levels, causing indirect coronary vasodilation due to adenosine deamination and intracellular reuptake inhibition, respectively. Response of the heart to dobutamine is similar to the way the heart reacts to physical exercise as it functions as cardiac chronotrope and inotrope.
The global pharmacologic stress agents market is driven by an alarming rise in number of coronary heart diseases worldwide. According to a recent report published in The Lancet, there has been 24% rise in the number of people with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in the last decade. Globally, millions of people are suffering from heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation, commonly called as AFib. Currently, nearly 2.7 million people in the U.S. are living with AFib due to rise in geriatric population, and this number is expected to rise dramatically in the next few years. The formation of atheromatous plaque is one of the main reasons which can cause heart attack or stroke. Other causes for the rise in heart diseases include smoking, obesity, and changes in lifestyle. However, growth of the global pharmacologic stress agents market can be restrained by side effects and safety issues related to the use of pharmacologic stress agents. People may experience side effects depending on the individual conditions. The most common side effects of the agents include headache, flushing, chest pain, nausea, feeling hot, and dizziness. Other factors which are likely to hinder the market growth are rise in the cost of the pharmacologic stress agents and the cardiovascular stress test. In addition, availability of effective and low-cost alternative test to pharmacologic stress testing, such as arm exercise, is expected to slow the market growth.
The global pharmacologic stress agents market has been segmented into agent type, application, end-user, and geography. By agent type, the market is segmented into adenosine, dobutamine, dipyridamole, regadenoson, and others. In terms of application, the market is segmented into ECG stress, echocardiography, nuclear imaging test, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scan. The nuclear imaging test segment is sub-segmented into single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET). Based on end-user, the market is classified into hospitals and specialized diagnostic centers. Based on region, the market is distributed over North America (NA), Europe, Latin America (LA), Asia Pacific (APAC), and Middle East & Africa (MEA).
Key players operating in the pharmacologic stress agents market are Astellas Pharma, Inc., Cardinal Health, Rapiscan Pharma Solutions, and GE Healthcare.
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