Health care systems are still reeling from widespread economic challenges, and capital-intensive medical equipment markets like interventional x-ray have suffered.

However, new systems combining capabilities, such as combined radiology/cardiology interventional x-ray systems, are predicted to drive market growth and recovery, according to a new report from InMedica, now part of IHS Inc.

Traditionally interventional x-ray has been divided into two separate markets: interventional radiology and interventional cardiology. Together these segments produced annual global revenues for x-ray systems of $1.79 billion in 2012. However, the high-cost of interventional x-ray, declining procedural volumes, and limited number of interventional specialists have slowed demand, with global revenue growth predicted to be less than 1% in 2013.

Combined interventional X-ray systems have been developed to offer shared capability between radiology and cardiology, in hopes of increasing equipment utilization and lowering the cost of ownership. This is particularly apparent for small and mid-sized hospitals, where demand rarely warrants two separate systems.

Development of this market is relatively new, with the first hybrid OR rooms conceived and installed within the last decade. Driven by advances in minimally invasive surgical techniques, previously “open” surgical procedures such as heart valve replacement can be performed with marginal invasiveness in the hybrid OR, using interventional imaging systems as guidance.

Despite such cost and clinical outcome benefits, strong market demand relating to the hybrid OR has yet to materialize. Key challenges include the expense of the hybrid OR in the current economic climate, as well as complex multidisciplinary planning between various clinical departments.

As a result, demand for interventional x-ray systems for hybrid OR use will be strongest from 2015, as austerity measures are lifted and demand for hybrid solutions increase.