Comdisco study sees scanners aging

December 27, 1995

For the second year running, Comdisco's annual survey of the average age of medical imaging equipment shows lengthening scanner life cycles in all modalities. The Rosemont, IL, equipment refurbisher and financing firm said the phenomenon was attributable

For the second year running, Comdisco's annual survey of the average age of medical imaging equipment shows lengthening scanner life cycles in all modalities. The Rosemont, IL, equipment refurbisher and financing firm said the phenomenon was attributable to the drop in purchasing of new capital equipment, which results in hospitals holding on to their equipment for longer periods.

MRI scanners were particularly hard hit. The average age of installed MRI systems was 4.5 years in 1995, up from 3.1 years in 1992. In addition, 70% of MRI scanners are over three years old, compared to 35% in 1992.

The average age of other modalities in 1995 versus 1992 was as follows:

  • CT, 5.5 years vs. 4.5 years;
  • Ultrasound scanners, 5.7 years vs. 4.4 years;
  • Cardiac cath labs, 6.3 years vs. 5.4 years;
  • Angiography suites, 7.5 years vs. 6.5 years; and
  • Nuclear medicine, 7.9 years vs. 6.6 years.

Radiography/fluoroscopy equipment continues to be the most elderly modality, with the average R/F system in 1995 purchased 10.1 years ago, compared to an average age of 7.9 years in 1992. The survey indicates that 20% of R/F systems are over 15 years old.

Not surprisingly, hospitals suffering from new-scanner sticker shock are turning to refurbished equipment, Comdisco said. The company's shipments of reconditioned medical imaging equipment this year increased 17% to $28 million, and the firm is entering 1996 with a record order backlog.