Global shortage of contrast agents impacts some procedures at Reid Health
May 11, 2022 -- Hospitals across the country -- including Reid Health -- are being impacted by a global shortage of intravenous contrast media dyes used for some radiology, cardiology, and surgery procedures to help better understand images taken of a patient's body.
COVID-19 related lockdowns in China have caused disruptions to production and distribution from GE Healthcare, leading to a nationwide dwindling supply of the materials.
In a press release issued by the American Hospital Association (AHA) yesterday, the organization recognized the supply shortage's effect on hospitals across the country.
"We are aware of this global shortage and have raised this issue with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)," said Nancy Foster, AHA's Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety Policy.
"While we have been told to expect normal production to resume late next month, hospitals are exploring various conservation strategies including the use of other imaging technologies, using other contrast agents, rationing contrast to ensure every available drop is used efficiently, and postponing some scans that can be postponed -- to give a few examples -- to continue to provide needed care."
"It's a rapidly evolving situation, and we don't have a firm timetable for when new supplies will be available. As a result, we will ethically, equitably, and appropriately prioritize the utilization of short-supplied contrast agents for our patients." -- Thomas Huth, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs
Like many other hospitals, Reid Health has a limited amount of these contrast media dyes on hand and is taking steps to conserve and prioritize the supply so it is available for patients who might need the contrast for life-saving procedures. As a result, some non-emergent procedures that use contrast will be postponed.
"This is a global problem that is impacting many health systems in addition to Reid Health," said Thomas Huth, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Reid Health. "It's a rapidly evolving situation, and we don't have a firm timetable for when new supplies will be available.
"As a result, we will ethically, equitably, and appropriately prioritize the utilization of short-supplied contrast agents for our patients."