High-Complexity versus Low-Complexity Anesthesia Delivery Units: Which Device Is the Global Market Shifting Towards?

anesthesia with anesthesia delivery unit

Anesthesia delivery units, otherwise known as anesthesia machines or ADUs, administer general anesthesia through inhalation. Many anesthesiologists consider these an integral piece of equipment. Both high and low-complexity ADUs perform several functions. Some functions include mixing anesthetic gases and oxygen, ventilating the patient, and vaporizing volatile anesthetic drugs. Usually, anesthesiologists use ADUs in hospitals. However, they can also use ADUs outside of operating rooms in obstetrics, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other suites. 

iData classifies an anesthesia delivery unit as high-complexity if it includes electronic vaporization, electronic flow, and some advanced ventilation parameters. Devices that do not meet this criterion are otherwise known as low-complexity ADUs. Additionally, for high-complexity ADUs, the pricing of these units includes the cost of an integrated gas analyzer. 


Overall, the market for high-complexity devices is doing well and is growing steadily, outside of COVID-19 related fluctuations. COVID-19 accounted for an unusual growth pattern in 2020. iData’s analysts predict that COVID-19 should continue to disrupt the market, followed by positive growth into 2027. Additionally, high-complexity devices are more expensive than their low-complexity counterparts. Because of this, hospitals were previously not willing to spend the extra money. However, many hospitals and healthcare centers are now developing a deeper understanding of more modern high-complexity machines and their long-term benefits. On average, unit sales for high-complexity anesthesia delivery units are replacement sales of older units or upgrade sales from low-complexity units. 


Overall, the low-complexity anesthesia delivery unit market is mature. COVID-19-related surgery cancellations and postponements caused the segment to experience a decline in 2020. But, the market will continue growing at a slow and steady rate. Additionally, low-complexity anesthesia delivery units are less complex than high-complexity ADUs and, as a result, have lower average selling prices (ASPs). Despite this, low-complexity ADUs are catching up in technical capabilities. As a result, they are doing well in the sense that they cater to cost-sensitive hospitals. Because hospitals utilize low-complexity ADUs pre and post-surgery, the need for these is slightly less than for the critical high-complexity ADUs. 


Despite previous trends where the market was shifting towards low-complexity anesthesia delivery units, the market is now in favor of high-complexity ADUs. In the past, traditional low-complexity ADUs dominated the market. Hospitals were hesitant to adapt to new technology in addition to investing in a costlier and more complicated product. Recently, there has been an increase in demand for critical high-complexity ADUs. The increase in demand is due to the added functionality and flexibility of the more complex devices. Additionally, high-complexity devices are the more popular choice when only purchasing a single machine in most regions. Therefore, from now until 2027, the high-complexity ADU market will remain significantly larger than its low-complexity counterpart. 


For more information on unit sales, average selling prices (ASPs), competitive analyses, and more follow the link below to receive a free market synopsis for the global anesthesia delivery unit and monitors market. Additionally, iData offers an updated report on the European and United States markets for anesthesia, respiratory, and sleep therapy devices which include anesthesia delivery units.


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