Neonatal jaundice is a common phenomenon—with as many as typically 84% preterm babies and half of term babies being affected by hyperbilirubinemia. Thus, hospital phototherapy has been popularly used for the treatment for unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia in both types of patients, thereby driving neonatal phototherapy market. In developed countries of the U.S. and the U.K. there has been trend toward a universal screening; although unarguably it is controversial especially in small preterm babies. Nonetheless, given the risk factors of severe hyperbilirubinemia, the rate of use of phototherapy has increased substantially over the past few years.
Key practice recommendations in numerous countries have espoused the use of phototherapy in reducing the incidence of acute jaundice. Traditional phototherapy technologies comprise fluorescent bulbs, halogen lamps or LED, and fiberoptic devices. Of these, LED radiation sources are found to be especially effective. Key product types in the neonatal phototherapy market include traditional phototherapy lamps, phototherapy beds, and flexible phototherapy lamps. However, still exchange transfusion rather than phototherapy is still a gold standard for the treatment of neonatal jaundice. Safest and the most effective methods depend on finding the correct intersection point of wavelength of the light used, the intensity of the light source, and the total dose of light received.
Global Neonatal Phototherapy Market: Notable Developments
The death caused to newborn babies due to neonatal jaundice in India has concerned healthcare providers in emerging markets. A case in point is India where anaesthesiologists have shown marked concerns of the low affordability of neonatal phototherapy in rural areas. The risk is high given the fact that the country ranks 12th among 52 lower middle-income nations. A startup Lifetron Innov Equipments has in 2018 developed low-cost, portable phototherapy unit costs. This is a crucial step for improving the access of treatments across the nations, especially Tier II and III cities.
Product differentiation in the neonatal phototherapy market may be difficult to come by. A trend underlying this is the lack of recommendations for universal screening of neonatal jaundice.
Several players are focusing on developing cost-effective neonatal phototherapy devices especially for cost-sensitive markets. To this end, a few players have also entered into collaborations, notably incubation programs, and taking mergers and acquisitions.
Leading names in the neonatal phototherapy market include Koninklijke Philips N.V., BabyBloom Healthcare BV, Novos Medical Systems, Atom Medical Corporation, and Natus Medical Incorporated.
Global Neonatal Phototherapy Market: Growth Dynamics
Technological advances have focused on developing user-friendly phototherapy devices and technologies that utilize blue spectrum radiation sources. This has been a key technological trend in the neonatal phototherapy market.
In developing and developed nations, the populations show an increased awareness of the risk factors related to severe hyperbilirubinemia; large presence of unconjugated bilirubin can be neurotoxic. This has led to the development of more effective methods for identifying risks. These recommendations drive the rapid evolution of neonatal phototherapy market. Notable recommendations are by American Academy of Family Physicians and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. An offshoot of such recommendations has been transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) meters growing in clinical utility during the hospitalization of healthy term and late-preterm newborns.
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Home-based phototherapy units in recent years have witnessed increase in popularity, mainly due to cost concerns of rehospitalisation. This is a key trend that might catalyse new opportunities in the neonatal phototherapy market. However, the uptake of neonatal phototherapy devices is still challenged in low- and middle-income countries owing to the cost factor. Nonetheless, governments, especially in developing economies, have over the years increased their efforts to address the cost concerns.
Global Neonatal Phototherapy Market: Regional Analysis
On the regional front, North America has emerged as a market with massive lucrative opportunities. A part of the growth is propelled by constantly updating guidelines and recommendations on screening for hyperbilirubinemia. Also, growing awareness of the effectiveness of recently launched neonatal phototherapy is also boosting the regional market. Another market with high potential is Asia Pacific.