Lifesaving dye used in hospital scans is in short supply

The COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting a extreme scarcity of one other crucial product within the US: dye used to carry out routine — however doubtlessly lifesaving — affected person scans and procedures at hospitals.

Hospitals report being low on “distinction materials,” a fluid that’s injected into sufferers intravenously to make CT scans and MRIs readable. It additionally permits medical doctors to determine clots within the coronary heart and mind.

The scarcity stems from COVID-19 manufacturing facility shutdowns in Shanghai, Chinathe place a lot of the provide of the ingredient is made.

The College of Alabama at Birmingham Well being System not too long ago issued an alert acknowledging the “vital world scarcity of intravenous distinction utilized in imaging procedures like enhanced X-rays, CT scans and MRIs.” In consequence, the medical middle is “aggressively” rationing the dye, requiring it to delay some elective imaging procedures.

“We want to verify we now have IV distinction out there for the sufferers in crucial want,” stated UAB Well being System CEO Selwyn M. Vickers.

Reserved for “life-or-death issues”

The hospital stated it would reserve its provide of dye for “life-or-death issues” and that disruptions for sufferers shall be “unavoidable” worldwide, given the shortage of dye suppliers outdoors of China.

Dr. Phil Johnson, chief of radiology on the College of Kansas Well being System, stated use of the dye is being restricted to critically ailing sufferers.

“We needed to triage and restrict the usage of distinction dye to solely critically ailing sufferers that needed to have distinction dye both to determine a prognosis, or to information a lifesaving or a limb-sparing remedy,” he stated.

The American Hospital Affiliation (AHA) on Monday known as on GE Healthcare, the primary provider of the fluid within the US, to offer extra details about the present scarcity.

American hospitals depend on “a constant provide” of GE’s distinction fluid, known as Omnipaque, to diagnose and deal with a big selection of sufferers, together with these with life-threatening circumstances, AHA stated in its letter. The present scarcity is anticipated to final till a minimum of June 30.

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