UAB Hospital updates IV contrast shortage

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 1:05 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s a worldwide problem that could affect you if you need medical care.

UAB Hospital gave an update Wednesday on the IV contrast shortage.

That’s the dye shot through your blood for CT scans and MRIs.

Right now, UAB Hospital is trying to make a three week supply last five to six weeks.

To make that happen, Dr. Kierstin Kennedy says they are modifying dosages, using minimum amounts so they don’t waste any.

They are also delaying some elective procedures and non-emergency scans that require contrast.

“If a patient is really sick and unstable, and we think we need the answer quickly, and the best way to get that answer is with a contrast enhanced study, we want to make sure that patient gets whatever study we think is the most effective in getting us an answer quickly,” said Dr. Kennedy, who’s the Interim Chief Medical Officer at UAB Hospital.

According to Dr. Kennedy, patients with medical emergencies will get priority.

“If someone is potentially having a stroke, or if someone comes in and they’re having a heart attack, and we need to be able to do a heart catheterization, so we can find the blockages to fix that we need to make sure contrast is available,” explained Dr. Kennedy. “That’s how we are prioritizing, so it’s both how sick they are, but also what’s going on with the patient.”

The hospital is also using other types of scans that don’t require contrast when possible.

The shortage is because the main supplier in Shanghai, China is in the middle of shutdowns because of a Covid-19 outbreak.


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