The availability of C-T contrast dye is tightening up

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Every day, c-t scans are done to produce different images from inside the body. Every day, hospitals are feeling more and more strain, with a national shortage in the dye that is used with these scans. "It is really important for our physicians to be able to have this contrast dye complement our diagnostic imaging, said Studden. It assists them in visualizing vessels’ potential infections and different types of cancers." Scott Studden is the Director of Diagnostic Imaging at St. Luke’s.

These dyes help to point out contrasts inside the body, and a c-t scan gives us a different look compared to other types of scans. Dr. Gowda states that "contrast slows down the x-rays; for example, kidneys may take a lot of contrast, which may look much brighter than a liver. At the same time, different pathologies look different; for example, like; cancer may take a lot of dye compared to the normal tissue, whereas cancer looks much better when we give the contrast." Dr. Naveen Gowda. M.D. is an Interventional Radiologist at St. Luke’s.

The shortage of the contrast dye comes from GE’s (General Electric) Healthcare factory as Sudden explains, “their biggest factory in Shanghai, China had to shut down the factory due to the government requirement of a covid spike. So they weren’t able to run at full capacity for a couple of weeks. We are hearing today that their capacity is at fifty percent.”

Like other hospitals, St Luke’s supply on hand is just everyone else. "We have about the same amount of contrast in our inventory in our facility, and it is about a month’s worth." Other alternatives are being explored that are less impactful and more available. "Using a different modality to scan or image the patient, for example, MRI’s, ultrasounds or pet c-t," mentioned Studden.

“The contrast tells us pretty much right away within five minutes rather than us waiting for a long time with other scans,” said Dr. Gowda.