Multihead SPECT fuels market pep

August 28, 1991

Initiation of dual-head single-photon emission computed tomographycamera sales this year will boost revenues in the nuclear marketby about 10%, predicted James L. Besett, general manager of Picker'snuclear medicine division. Unit sales will remain fairly

Initiation of dual-head single-photon emission computed tomographycamera sales this year will boost revenues in the nuclear marketby about 10%, predicted James L. Besett, general manager of Picker'snuclear medicine division. Unit sales will remain fairly stagnant,however, he said.

Demand for less expensive, single-head SPECT systems remainshigh, even though multidetector camera sales have reduced revenuein the single-head market, Besett said.

"Hospitals haven't adjusted to paying $500,000 to $600,000for any kind of scintillation camera," he said.

Triple-head SPECT sales should remain at 70 to 80 units thisyear, but twice as many dual-head as triple-head systems may besold. The overall nuclear camera market in 1991 may break downat about 650 single-head, 125 to 150 dual-head and 75 triple-headunits sold, Besett predicted.

While a third of the nuclear camera market could convert tomultihead systems over the next year or two, the lower end ofthe market will not disappear, he said.

Picker's nuclear medicine division, formerly Ohio Imaging,uses technology in its triple-head Prism 3000 SPECT system thatwas developed at Johnson & Johnson's now-defunct Technicaresubsidiary. Picker merged this technology with a completely newgantry design in both a dual- and single-head camera introducedat the 1990 Radiological Society of North America meeting. Shipmentsof the Prism 1000 and 2000 began this summer, Besett said.

Demand for single-head cameras is driven primarily by costconsiderations, he said.

"I think everyone would prefer dual-head (over single-headcameras). They would rather have two heads because they can performthe procedure in half the time," he said.

Picker's dual-head SPECT camera will sell for about $125,000less than the triple-head Prism. The Prism 1000, in turn, willbe about $100,000 less expensive than the dual-head unit, he said.

Despite the expense of triple-head SPECT cameras, the bulkof Picker's sales has been to hospitals of between 250 and 350beds rather than larger general and teaching hospitals, he said.

"In the beginning we may have thought that (larger hospitals)would be the right place to go, but it turned out not to be thecase," he said. "About 90% (of the triple-head SPECTsystems) go to the general community market."

Large teaching hospitals have been hit hard by the economicdownturn and reimbursement restrictions, he noted.

Picker installed its first Prism 3000 in a mobile van thisyear, although the vendor does not expect a large number of mobileSPECT sales, Besett said.

"There is little demand in the (mobile SPECT) market,but there seems to be a reasonable opening for outlying ruralareas," he said. "We are responding to certain customerrequests. It will be up to (mobile service providers) to expandthat business."