Over the past few months, you may have heard about a shortage of contrast dye used in some forms of diagnostic imaging studies. This shortage is due to COVID-19 pandemic manufacturing facility shutdowns in Shanghai, China where a specific type of contrast dye – iodinated IV contrast – is produced. Because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases this past spring, China instituted a period of lockdowns, basically bringing all manufacturing to a halt in Shanghai. Hence, the contrast shortage.
This type of contrast dye is typically used for computerized axial tomography or CAT scans. It is injected into the vein of a patient and then a scan is taken of a specific area of the body to allow a physician to better visualize their anatomy. These scans are often used in Orthopedics, Spine Surgery, Cardiology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Urology and other areas of medicine.
At OSC, we use diagnostic imaging equipment everyday to assist our physicians in giving our patients an accurate diagnosis. Currently we are not experiencing a shortage of contrast, should it be required. Fortunately, when contrast is needed for an MRI, our Open MR scanner uses Gadolinium contrast, of which there is no shortage.
Occasionally, our physicians may need to order a CAT scan with contrast at a local hospital for our patients who cannot undergo an MR scan or for whom we need a specific study. To date, we have not encountered any issue for those patients, needing scans.
The latest news from China is that the shortage should be resolving within the next month or two. Please know that we will monitor the situation carefully and will keep you advised of any changes that may impact your care.