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National shortage of contrast dyes affecting healthcare systems across the country

CHICAGO (SCS) — Growing concern about common medical screenings that can catch things like cancer or heart problems.

A national shortage of imaging solutions puts some of these tests on hold. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar with the impact he is having on major hospitals in our area.

“Do you know the worst place to be during a pandemic? The hospital »

Lucy Cantley is battling colon cancer and being treated in North Carolina.

“So I have no idea there was a shortage of scanners which are very anxiety-provoking for any cancer patient.”

And to add to the anxiety of her regular CT scans when she last visited the hospital, Cantley was given less contrast solution than normal due to a nationwide shortage.

“Knowing that the scan is not being done as it normally would only create more anxiety,” she said.

GE, a leading supplier of contrast dyes, was forced to shut down its Shanghai manufacturing plant for several weeks due to COVID, contributing to the shortage that is now affecting healthcare systems and patients across the country. .

“There’s definitely a crisis right now in terms of intravenous CT contrast. We’re trying to conserve contrast by using less of it per patient.”

Dr Jonathan Chung, from the University of Chicago’s Department of Drug Radiology, said his hospital saw this coming and stocked up on contrast dye – but supplies are limited and CT scans take priority.

“If you don’t have an urgent condition right now, we can ask you to come in two or three months later to get your imaging done.”

Along with the University of Chicago, the shortage of CT solutions is impacting Advocate Aurora Health.

Edward Elmhurst Health does not use GE as a supplier. Both Northwestern and Rush say their patients are unaffected by the shortage.

Nancy Foster of the American Hospital Association says that, based on public information from GE and the FDA, it could take until mid-summer for supply chains to be fully restored.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a little murkier than I would like right now,” she said.

If you are due for a CT scan and are asked to postpone it, we encourage you to speak with your doctor to discuss next steps or possible alternatives to a CT scan.


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