Shortage of solution used in CT scans could upset some healthcare providers

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Another wave of COVID-19-related lockdowns in China is causing problems for US hospitals. Some are being forced to postpone elective medical procedures due to a shortage of iodine solutions used in heart care, CT scans and X-rays.

“We received a message from GE about a week and a half ago indicating that there had been closures at the main production facility in Shanghai, China,” said Alexis Parker, Oakland Imaging Diagnostic Center.

The production of contrast media, also called x-ray dyes, used to perform CT scans or CT scans, is now insufficient.

“Your stomach drops because a radiologist will tell you, it sounds corny, but they diagnose with a dye,” Parker said.

As the Food and Drug Administration monitors the situation, imaging centers across the country deal with the impact

“Which caused them to reduce our volume by 80% of what we ordered at the same time last year,” she added.

But the Oakland Imaging Diagnostic Center says patient care will not be compromised.

“At this point we’re still 100% fully operational, hopefully it doesn’t come to that,” she said.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association represents hospitals across the state to improve health care and ensure access to affordable coverage.

“For anyone concerned about this, our suppliers are certainly aware of the issue and have contingency plans in place in the event supplies are reduced to a level where one of these conservation strategies would need to be implementation,” said John Karasinski, Michigan. Health and Hospital Association.

But not all health facilities are affected by the shortage in the same way.

“Henry Ford Health uses a different product, Isovue, which is distributed by Bracko,” said Dr. Daniel Myers, vice president of radiology, Henry Ford Health. “Brako has no issues, so our contrast volume has been uninterrupted and it’s business as usual at Henry Ford Health.”

As for medical centers whose supplies are affected, they say they will find ways to overcome this supply chain hurdle.

“Sometimes we can see what we need without it, so we don’t impact patient care for those who really need it,” Parker said.

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