Hospitals in Ontario are monitoring a worldwide shortage of contrast dye used for medical scans

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

Published Wednesday, June 1, 2022 2:58 PM EDT

The global lack of contrast dye has forced some hospitals in Ontario to limit or postpone some diagnostic imaging tests.

Windsor Regional Hospital says it expects only half of its usual supply of iodinated contrast dye in the coming weeks and will not reserve any new non-emergency CT, cardiac angiograms and diagnostic studies until at least the end of June.

“All Ontario hospitals” are said to have developed mitigation strategies to allocate solutions after a major international supplier has temporarily closed its main Chinese plant amid concerns of COVID-19 and still increasing production.

Windsor Hospital says it will prioritize emergency care, including “serious trauma, possible strokes and heart problems, intestinal blockages and critically ill patients.”

“The hospital will contact patients whose upcoming appointments will be affected by the dosing of contrast dyes,” the statement said on Saturday.

Bluewater Health, which includes hospitals in Southwestern Ontario in Sarnia and the city of Petrolia, said on Tuesday that it also expects half of its usual deliveries, but will manage it using other imaging methods that do not require a contrast dye.

He added that the problem did not affect ultrasound, X-rays or contrast MRIs and that it “did not significantly affect appointments”.

The global shortage is affecting hospitals supplied by GE Healthcare’s Shanghai plant, which has been closed in China for several weeks due to COVID-19. GE has three other manufacturing plants, including and plant in Cork, Ireland, which expanded production to help cover the shortage.

The plant in China, it reopened to 60 percent capacity on May 21, but it is expected that it will take several weeks for production to reach full capacity.

A spokeswoman for Toronto’s North York General Hospital said she was “examining whether there were other delivery options.”

“Like hospitals across Ontario, this deficiency will have some impact on the North York General, and we are working to minimize any impact on patient care,” Anne-Marie Flanagan said in an email statement.

“This includes changing some of our imaging protocols to reduce or avoid the use of IV contrast, while ensuring that they do not have any negative effects on the quality and approach to CT imaging.”

Bluewater’s medical director of diagnostic imaging said the intention was to ensure that patients were not adversely affected.

“We manage our inventory locally by taking steps to reduce our use where possible and will continue to evaluate how we can gain a better understanding of the shortage,” he said. Youssef Almalki.

A statement from the Toronto University Medical Network, which includes Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Center, said she did not experience the same supply because she obtained the contrast dye from Bayer.

However, he acknowledged that the shortage could cause secondary tensions if it increased demand from competing manufacturers.

“This means that many sites are looking for Bayer as a source of contrast, which can affect anyone if the supply problem at GE continues,” UHN said in a statement.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 1, 2022.

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