Technology continues to remain the cornerstone for success in this market concentrated primarily in intensive care units, emergency departments, and operation rooms.

State-of-the-art blood gas analysis technologies are focused on fast, reliable solutions that improve diagnosis times for patients and clinicians. Continued technology enhancements and innovations in blood gas instrumentation have reduced test times to less than a minute and decreased the amount of blood needed from milliliters to microliters. In addition, information technologies have revolutionized the field of blood gas and electrolyte analyses. Advanced analyzers have computer interfaces and internal algorithms to calculate pertinent parameters and expand the test menu and sample types that can be analyzed.

Indian Market

The blood gas and electrolyte analyzers and reagents market in India in 2014 is estimated at Rs.234 crore, with reagents accounting for 65 percent and instruments the balance.

The instruments market continues to be driven by combined analyzers, which are finding more popularity than blood gas analyzers and electrolyte analyzers. These require less service and maintenance. Clinicians and biomedical engineers are increasingly becoming the decision makers in selecting the brand and product, as the dependence on this product before every surgery is increasing.

The combined analyzers may be segmented as small handheld units, analyzers with low-throughput, and those with high throughput. The low-throughput analyzers are the most popular with sales at 650 numbers, high throughput at 90 numbers and handheld at about 350 numbers, together contributing Rs.47 crore to the combined analyzers market.

In the electrolyte analyzers segment, Chinese players command an equal share of the market, with unit price of Rs.85,000 - as against the organized segment, commanding a better unit price realization in the Rs.125,000 vicinity.

The popular brands continue to be Roche, Medica, Radiometer, Transasia, Eshweiller, Siemens, IL, and Nova. I-STAT systems and epoc blood analysis systems are also popular in the competitive price segments.

Global Market

The global blood gas and electrolyte market is expected to reach USD 653.5 million by 2022 from USD 455.4 million in 2014, growing at CAGR of 4.7 percent from 2015 to 2022. Rising number of patients in ICU and critical care units and increasing demand for high throughput and integrated systems are some key factors likely to drive the blood gas and electrolyte analyzers market. The emergence of multi-parameter monitoring devices owing to expanding test menus, and growing demand for portable devices is expected to boost usage rates.

Portable analyzers dominated the market with a share of over 60 percent in 2014 and are also expected to witness lucrative growth over the forecast period.

Combined blood gas and electrolyte analyzers are expected to rapidly gain market share over the forecast period. Analyzers, which can analyze blood and electrolyte samples together, are swiftly gaining popularity among users.

A Mobile Phone Microscope

A research team led by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed a new mobile phone microscope capable of analyzing blood. Its primary purpose is to automatically detect and quantify bodily infection caused by parasitic worms.

Having teamed up with Dr. Thomas Nutman of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as with collaborators from Cameroon and France, the UC Berkeley team conducted a pilot study in Cameroon, where health officials have been battling the onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis, both of which are caused by parasitic worms.

For this latest generation of mobile phone microscope, fittingly named CellScope Loa, the researchers paired a smartphone with a 3D-printed plastic base, where the sample of blood is positioned. The base includes LEDs, microcontrollers, gears, circuitry and a USB port.

Control of the device is automated through a proprietary, purpose-specific app developed by the researchers. The phone communicates wirelessly to controllers in the base to process and analyze the blood sample. Gears move the sample in front of the camera, and an algorithm automatically analyzes the telltale "wriggling" motion of the worms from the phone's captured video. The worm count is then displayed on the screen. The procedure takes approximately two minutes or less, starting from the time the sample is inserted to the display of the results.

"This research is addressing neglected tropical diseases," said Daniel Fletcher, an associate chairman and professor of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley, whose lab pioneered the CellScope. "It demonstrates what technology can do to help fill a void for populations that are suffering from terrible but treatable diseases."

The standard method of screening for levels of loa involves trained technicians manually counting the worms in a blood smear using conventional laboratory microscopes, making the process impractical for use in field settings and in mass campaigns to administer IVM.

Fletcher said previous field tests revealed that automation helped reduce the rate of human error. The short processing time allows health workers to quickly determine on site whether it is safe to administer IVM. The researchers are now expanding the study of CellScope Loa to about 40,000 people in Cameroon.

Way Forward

Technology has revolutionized the blood gas and electrolyte analyzers industry. Systems that can be used anywhere in the patient care continuum, including laboratories, emergency departments, operation rooms, intensive care units, step-down units, telemetry, transport, and the physician's office, have become critical for continuity of care. Analysis of multiple parameters from a single sample has expanded the scope of application of the analyzers and hence the market as well. Blood gas analyzers continue to progress toward a smaller platform with key features such as wireless communications and patient-side or bedside utilization characteristics. Unwieldy tabletop analyzers have shrunk in size, while increasing their analytic capabilities and enabling proactive critical care. Advanced IT features have been incorporated into analyzers to protect patient safety and ensure proper handling of test data. These systems transmit patient and test data directly to the hospital's electronic medical record or laboratory information system.

The modern automated blood gas analyzer systems have enabled clinical laboratories overcome many of the challenges of blood gas testing and enhance operational efficiency.

Indian Market Dynamics is based on market research conducted by Medical Buyer in March 2015.

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