Physician Reviewing X-ray
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Hospitals across the United States are rationing a vital substance used in medical imaging, iodinated contrast media, due to the temporary shut down of GE Healthcare factories in Shanghai, China, in April due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The plant is currently operating again at 25% capacity but is expected to return to its full capabilities by the end of June per GE Healthcare. In the meantime, GE Healthcare has diverted production to Ireland to keep up with demand, but, with COVID-19 continuing worldwide, the need for contrast media remains high.

Iodinated contrast media such as Omnipaque™ (iohexol) and Visipaque™ (iodixano) are routinely used during computerized tomography (CT) scans to illuminate either blood vessels or the gastrointestinal tract through injection into a vein or by swallowing the contrast media. The use of contrast media is paramount in diagnosing various medical conditions. Unfortunately, its shortage is forcing many hospitals to formulate strategies of rationing current supplies, exploring alternative agents, and triaging only the most urgent cases for imaging.

If you are a medical professional currently coping with the hospital supply line or if you believe you may have been personally affected by having your imaging procedures delayed, we here at The Simple Herald would like to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let us know how the iodinated contrast media shortage affects you.

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Raymond Hourst
Biologist, world traveler, and fine dining expert writing from Antananarivo, Madagascar to Detroit, Michigan

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