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The specialized field of anesthesiology has been garnering much attention of late in the overall hospital care system. The anesthesia market has been witnessing rapid increases due to mounting safety awareness and advancements in anesthesia machine technology. Government funding initiatives have resulted in ensuring the gradual transitioning of healthcare facilities and hospitals toward sophisticated equipment. An ever-enhancing demand for cutting-edge anesthesia devices from surgeons, anesthesiologists and clinicians for operating room procedures has also been instrumental in shaping market dynamics.

Trends in Technology
The existing anesthesia technology scenario is dominated by low-flow anesthesia and electronic medical records (EMRs), which contribute to considerable savings. Though providing economy, efficacy, safety and eco-friendliness in the administration of general anesthesia, possible drawbacks can include accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases. Integrating EMRs with the perioperative environment enables medical professionals in offering improved patient care, in addition to enhancing financial efficiency. The integration of synchronized data into a patient’s EMR should be facilitated by anesthesia equipment in order that clinical documentation, patient safety, regulatory compliance and billing effectiveness are maximized. Clinical data has to be precise for healthcare providers in monitoring level of patient care and keeping track of the quality of patient outcomes.

Other features that are being widely incorporated include multi-gas monitoring, oxygen monitoring and anesthesia gas monitoring, with standard flow meters giving way to digital flow meters for greater accuracy. Additional enhancements that would go a long way in expanding market prospects include integration of devices, such as infusion pumps and syringe pumps with the anesthesia workstation.

Total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) is an anesthetic machine that is highly user-friendly and ideal for patients undergoing small- to medium-sized cosmetic surgery operations. This technology has now become an option of choice for patients because of its unique ability of quickly clearing out of a patient’s system, enabling a rapid and effortless awakening with minimal possibility of nausea. In addition, TIVA offers the option of adjustments ranging from light to deep sedation without impairing a patient’s airway and breathing, making it specifically ideal for facial surgeries. This technique has been widely applied for outpatient cosmetic surgery procedures, such as breast augmentation, medium-sized facial surgeries, eyelid surgeries, fat transfer, skin peels and liposuctions. Using TIVA also enables in multimodal intra-operative neurophysiologic monitoring in instances of complex spinal surgeries, and can also cater to the distinctive anesthetic demands of pediatric patients.

All anesthetists require maintaining confidence that their patients are well anesthetized during the surgical procedure. Though depth of anesthesia monitors help in minimizing the prevalence of perioperative awareness, the cost factor involved and the requirement of consumables to be purchased for each case are detrimental factors for utilizing them on a more extensive basis. The association between increased mortality and depth of anesthesia has not had any concrete foundations as yet, though patient morbidity could be an appropriate reflection of the same.

Short Term Outlook
While the global anesthesia devices market is not expected to witness the introduction of any equipment in the short term, the onus on manufacturers would be in pushing the new generation equipment currently available over the coming half a decade, with a special focus on surgery centers and hospitals that are managing with outdated equipment. OEMs has stopped servicing obsolete equipment, with third party service outfits being the only recourse for service and changing parts, if required. Another factor to be considered is the influx of imported equipment within the United States, though uncertainty exists as to device quality and serviceability, and this trend is likely to continue over the short term. Specialty OEMs that were hitherto involved in servicing equipment would give way to third-party vendors and biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs). On the flip side, expenses involved in training technicians would continue to rise, as a consequence of which OEM factory training would no longer be cost effective.

The cost outlay involved in purchasing even the most fundamental configurations of current equipment can be considerable, and healthcare facilities would be required to undertake budgeting stretching over several fiscal years to cover the expenses. This has compelled several facilities, clinics and outpatient surgical centers to look for refurbished equipment, which seems a highly viable option, more so for small- to medium-sized operations.