Valentine's day: how do you fix a broken heart?

As Valentine's day 2012 rolls around, we can barely go anywhere without being inundated with hearts heart-shaped decorations, heart-shaped candies, teddy bears holding hearts. All great indications of a fun, happy holiday. But what about for those of us nursing a broken heart this year.

Well, medical devices will (sadly) not help you if you're suffering from an emotionally broken heart as always, only time will do the trick. There are, however, a number of options if your heart is clinically broken and as a Valentine's day special, we're going to take a look at some of the options for mending your broken heart in 2012.

The big story this year has of course been the launch of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) devices in the US. These devices offer a minimally invasive way of treating aortic valve disease and are able to treat the large patient pool that is ineligible for open-heart surgery. TAVR devices will generate approximately $1.1 billion by 2015 in a combined US and European market. Their counterpart, transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) devices have run into a few more problems since their introduction in Europe in 2008 including less-than-stellar clinical results and a voluntary recall and are not yet available in the US. The US and European TMVR device market will be valued at approximately $135 million by 2015.

The interventional cardiology (IC) device market hasn't been doing so well lately, with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) volumes hindered by a lower need for repeat procedures the manufacturers can take the blame for that one; their next-generation stents are so good, reinterventions are becoming less necessary! Also, the increasing use of fractional flow reserve to better identify when stenting is appropriate has negatively impacted PCI volumes to some extent. The only real winners in the IC device market are intravascular imaging catheters and pressure guidewires as well as drug-coated balloons these product markets will see solid growth over the forecast period as the other markets decline or stagnate.

The electrophysiology (EP) mapping and ablation device markets have been looking pretty good with the rising adoption of premium-priced products, such as loop diagnostic catheters, intracardiac echocardiography diagnostic catheters, irrigated-tip radiofrequency ablation catheters, and cryoballoon catheters these advanced devices are being adopted as physicians increasingly treat atrial fibrillation, a relatively complex arrhythmia, with ablation. Together, the US and European EP mapping and ablation device markets will show strong growth to reach a value of nearly $1.9 billion by 2015.

And how are the old faithfuls doing? Cardiac rhythm management devices are holding pretty steady despite the progress made by EP procedures, with global market revenues (including the US, Europe, and Japan) growing to reach the $10 billion dollar mark in 2014. Coronary artery bypass graft procedures have struggled a little more to compete with PCIs, and US revenues for these devices will hold steady at just under $600 million.

So if your heart problems are more plaque/arrhythmia/stenosis-related and less relationship-related this year, medtech might be able to help you out. But here's hoping this Valentine's day finds your heart healthy and happy!