Local health care providers are not being seriously impacted by a global shortage of contrast fluid used in certain imaging procedures, though one is experiencing a minor shortage of the product and making plans to secure it from other suppliers.
Brent Moseley, State of Franklin Healthcare Associates’ diagnostic imaging manager, said they currently have enough inventory, but are working to secure other vendors that manufacture the contrast solution. Moseley said State of Franklin hasn’t seen any disruption of patient care, but protocols are being reviewed to ensure it doesn’t get to that point.
“We were informed that production has restarted, but it’ll be about a three-to-four-week delay before we start getting it,” said Moseley. “We feel like we’re good at this point, but we just want to be safe and proactive and we’re working with these other vendors.”
A Ballad Health spokesperson said the hospital system only uses a “negligible amount of the affected product” and is not expecting any issues as a result of the shortage, but is closely monitoring the situation.
Holston Medical Group also said in a statement that it’s not experiencing disruption in services, surgical or diagnostic, due to the shortage.
COVID-related lockdowns in China shut down the factory that produces the contrast fluid, leading to the current global shortage. The affected products, Iohexol and Iodixanol, are typically used in CT scans, according to the American Hospital Association.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first reported the shortage on May 9, but some health care providers learned of the shortage in April. The shortage is expected to last until June, and the FDA said normal supply is expected again in July.
“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 and ensuring every available drop of contrast dye is used efficiently, and postponing some scans that can be postponed, to give a few examples, in order to continue to provide needed care,” the AHA’s Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety Policy, Nancy Foster, said in a press release from the Hospital Association. “The AHA will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates to the hospital and health system field.”
Andrea Turner, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Hospital Association, told the Press earlier this week that it’s unclear how much the shortage will impact or is impacting Tennessee hospitals.
“We are aware of the issue, which would appear to have both national and international impact,” Turner said. “However at this time, we don’t have specific data indicating how pervasive the problem is within the state.”