According to Millennium Research Group's Global Markets for Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Treatment Devices 2008 report, over 32,000 electrophysiology (EP) procedures were performed for the treatment of AF in the US in 2007. AF EP procedure volumes will increase at a compound annual growth rate of over 25% from 2008 to 2012.While "increasing physician acceptance" helps to drive this market, regrettably, so does economics - catheter ablation still pays better than most procedures electrophysiologists perform.
Growth in procedure volumes will be driven by the increasing physician acceptance of EP ablation as a viable and effective treatment for AF. Over the next several years, these procedures will be used more often over medical therapy than in the past. The introduction of new technology will also support greater procedure volumes through 2012; these new devices will enable physicians to increase the safety, efficiency, and efficacy of EP ablation catheter procedures. By 2012, over 109,000 EP procedures will be performed to treat AF in the US.
We still need a multi-center, prospective, randomized mortality trial to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of primary therapy of atrial fibrillation ablation compared to medical therapy. Until this occurs, only symptomatic patients refractory to medical therapy should be considered for referral for this procedure.