Challenges and Opportunities in the U.S. Market for Central Venous Catheters

central venous catheter

What are Central Venous Catheters?

In emergency and non-emergency situations, central venous catheters, in short, CVCs, gain immediate high-flow vascular access. Because of the higher potential flow rates, veins with larger diameters such as the jugular, subclavian, and femoral veins are the best for CVCs as they accommodate more lumens. In situations where patients require large amounts of fluid, CVCs are the go-to device for gaining vascular access. However, as with anything, CVCs have their disadvantages. When patients receive CVC’s they become susceptible to infection due to providing direct access to the bloodstream for colonized bacteria around the insertion site. These infections are otherwise known as catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) and typically vary depending on the chosen vein. Despite this, CVCs are the number one option in intensive care units (ICUs) for immense fluid delivery at a rapid rate. 

A Mature and Stable Market: Where is the Growth?

In total, the U.S. market for central venous catheters contains both acute CVCs and chronic CVCs. The acute CVC market includes conventional and antimicrobial CVCs, while the chronic CVC market includes single-lumen and double-lumen devices without antimicrobial properties. Due to the slight appreciation in ASPs and low unit sales, growth within the acute CVC market will occur. The growing acute CVC market will work to uplift the overall CVC market. This will then level off due to the decreasing growth of chronic CVCs. Chronic CVCs contain antimicrobial cuffs and remain within a patient for long periods. Due to declines in both the ASPs and unit sales, the chronic CVC market has been experiencing a decline. Therefore, the majority of the growth within this market is coming from the acute CVC market.

Infection Rates: Are These Limiting This Market?

Central venous catheters are responsible for approximately 90% of all CRBSIs annually, totaling around 250,000 infections. The high infection rates, financial costs, and poor patient outcomes limit the market. Alternative catheters such as peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are gaining popularity. In outpatient settings, PICCs have significantly lower infection rates. Patients and hospitals prefer PICCs as they can remain at the patient’s bedside, increasing comfort and decreasing cost. However, these are not the best option for critical care as they do not have as high flow rates as CVCs. Because doctors need to insert CVCs, they can become very costly as the hospital is charged a professional fee. In contrast, nurses can insert PICCs and because of this, no professional fee is required. Overall, the market is limited because CVCs increase the risk of infection and are more expensive than alternative catheters.

Looking into the Future 

Over the forecast period and into 2026, growth within this market will occur. This growth will appear moderate and will be due to the increase in the acute CVC market. The chronic CVC market, on the other hand, will decline over the forecast period. Increased use of alternative catheters due to lower infection rates will limit this market. However, many of these aren’t feasible in emergencies, and, therefore, CVCs will still be a popular option. Approaches for decreasing CRBSIs such as improving sterility in the implantation setting, increasing healthcare worker training and education, and creating catheters that are less susceptible to infection will continue to be developed. 

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