SCHA and DHEC Recommend Measures to Reduce Impacts of Global Iodinated Contrast Shortage in South Carolina
The U.S. healthcare system is facing an iodinated contrast shortage that is impacting many healthcare facilities across the country. Iodinated contrast is used to help physicians view organs, tissue, or blood vessels during certain imaging exams and procedures, especially CT scans, some vascular studies, cardiac catheterizations and many interventional radiology procedures.
The shortage was caused by the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China, that led to the temporary closure of a facility that produces a significant amount of the global supply of iodinated contrast. The facility is back in operation, but the shortage will impact some hospitals for six to eight weeks as production backlogs are addressed.
Given the significant impact that this shortage may have on clinical operations in South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the member hospitals of the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) are recommending conservation and mitigation strategies to help ensure all South Carolina patients receive the right care at the right time. Those strategies include:
- Developing stewardship initiatives to prevent waste of contrast media;
- Substituting other appropriate imaging technologies to aid physicians as they diagnose and develop treatment plans for their patients; and
- Prioritizing which cases and procedures that require contrast should receive available contrast and delaying less urgent ones that can safely be deferred until the global supply chain is restored.
Some patients may experience temporary delays in scheduling future tests or procedures requiring contrast. Patients who are currently scheduled for imaging studies or procedures that are affected by this contrast shortage will be contacted by their healthcare provider— there is no action needed by you at this time.
We continue to monitor this latest challenge caused by the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on the global supply chain while focusing on the most important objective—to ensure all South Carolinians receive the safest care in the timeliest manner possible.