Electrodes are conductors capable of passing energy signals from one medium to another i.e. from a power source to a material or device. The electrodes are composed especially of metals such as copper, zinc, silver, nickel, cadmium, manganese oxide and others. In medical applications electrodes facilitate diagnosis as well as treatment of several disease conditions. For instance electrocardiography ECG electrodes are employed to diagnose cardiac disorders whereas electrosurgical electrodes are deployed in various surgeries to ensure precise incisions with minimal loss of blood.
The industry for medical electrodes is witnessing a rapid pace of technological advances that result in the commercialization of novel diagnostic and therapeutic electrodes. Increasing incidences of cardiac disorders coupled with several neurological disorders create an escalated demand for effective diagnosis and treatment approaches that lead to development of reliable and accurate diagnostic and therapeutic platforms. This in turn results in introduction of high patient compliant and efficient electrodes. According to the data enumerated and updated in the year 2013 by World health Organization (WHO), approximately 6.2 million people die out of strokes annually and more than 50 million people have epilepsy worldwide. The organization (WHO) also states that the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases is expected to reach 23 million by the year 2030. Hence, these alarming disorder rates create a high demand for novel and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic methodologies.
The major factors contributing towards proliferation of electrodes are consistent technological advances, high preference towards disposable electrodes over reusable and increased introduction of novel electrode technologies. Increased preference towards disposable electrodes is attributed to enhanced features of electrodes such as user friendly, low manufacturing costs and low risk of hospital acquired infections as compared to reusable electrodes. In addition, widened application range of therapeutic electrodes especially in aesthetic surgeries, RF ablation procedures etc further propel the growth of the market. On the contrary lack of standardized reimbursement policies coupled with stringent regulatory barriers for approval are some of the factors that might encumber the growth of electrodes market. The global electrodes market for medical devices market was valued at USD 633.6 million in 2012 and is estimated to reach USD 1,451.2 million by 2019 growing at a CAGR of 11.7% from 2013 to 2019.
Diagnostic electrodes facilitate the diagnosis of several medical conditions such as cardiac disorders, neurological, fetal monitoring etc. The diagnostic electrode segment is further classified into five major types. ECG electrodes are anticipated to record highest growth rate of over 3% followed by fetal scalp electrodes throughout the forecast period from 2013 to 2019. In addition, extensive usage of these electrodes as compared to others and consistent technological sophistications further fuel the market growth. Some of the recent technological advancements include use of textile electrodes attached to shirts or other form of clothes rendering continuous cardiac monitoring which nowadays is mostly used by athletes and soldiers to keep a check on their heart activity.
Innovation and novelty in design and features of therapeutic electrodes provide lucrative growth prospects for the overall medical electrodes market. This can be evident from the introduction of all these factors that encourage growth and uptake of these devices worldwide. Electrosurgical electrodes and defibrillator electrodes are estimated to record highest growth rates during the forecast period. The major reason being the development of wearable defibrillator by ZOLL Medical Corporation which can continuously monitor the cardiac rhythms of the wearer and occurrence of any abnormality triggers the alarm and renders the electrical shock to the user in order to regain the normal heart functionality.
Geographical landscape elucidates the market trends based on four major geographies namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW). North America and Europe dominated the global electrodes for medical devices market and accounted for largest percentage of the total market accounting for more than 60% of the total market in the year 2012. This is attributed to the presence of technologically sophisticated medical devices that in turn supports the presence of technologically advanced electrodes along with continuous product modifications resulting in introduction of efficient electrodes such as dry electrodes and hydrogel electrodes having enhanced adhesion capability and better conduction features as compared to gel based electrodes.
In addition alarming rates of cardiac disorders and increased rate of diagnosis in these regions will further accelerate the growth and uptake of medical electrodes. Asia-Pacific region has been estimated to foresee the highest growth rate during the forecast period from 2013 to 2019. The reason being the growing trend for medical tourism in this region, rise in disposable income and increase in the number of smokers in the Asian region will boost the demand for medical device electrodes in near future.
The overall electrodes market is highly fragmented with the presence of both established and emerging companies in this field. Some of the prominent market players in this market are 3M Company, Ambu A/S, CONMED Corporation, Philips Healthcare Medtronic, Inc., and Natus Medical, Inc. among others. Rigorous investment by the companies towards developing efficient diagnostic and therapeutic platforms is evident for promising growth prospects in this market.

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