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Local hospitals partner to manage contrast dye shortage

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 3:37 PM EDT
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FISHERSVILLE, Va. (WHSV) - Some medical professionals are struggling to get their hands on contrast dye used to test for things like strokes, blood clots and cancer.

Without that product, some hospitals have had to delay important exams. A manufacturing plant shutdown in Shanghai caused the shortage. That shutdown began in April, but the factory still isn’t at full production.

“Since that time they have now ramped up production, but they’re only manufacturing at about 25% or so of their normal manufactured volume, so their supply just hasn’t been able to reach demand yet,” said Jesse Johnson, Administrative Director of Medical Imaging with Augusta Health.

Johnson said last year Augusta Health diversified their contrast dye supply. The dye is Bracco’s ISOVUE which is produced in Europe. Because of that, they haven’t been hit by the shortage.

“We really have not had to decrease the number of our scheduled openings or do anything different with our care for the patients presenting in the emergency room or for hospitalized in-patients,” Johnson said.

On top of that, they’re reaching out to local providers who are struggling to get the product.

“The other thing we’re starting to see is some referrals from surrounding facilities for patients who really shouldn’t have their care delayed due to not being able to receive a contrast-enhanced scan,” he said.

Contrast dye is used in things like CT scans and some x-rays, and it’s often used in crucial medical care.

“We have been collaborating with some of those hospitals, which has been very positive, and we are starting to see some patients from some of those facilities,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the facility will likely be at full production by the end of June. To prevent further shortages, they’ve expanded operations to Cork, Ireland.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be something we live with from now on, but it will be a true short-term problem with the supply chain,” Johnson said.

To learn more about the shortage, click here.

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