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Ky. healthcare facilities being impacted by global contrast dye shortage

Hospitals in central Kentucky and worldwide are dealing with another shortage, this time for contrast dye.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:04 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Hospitals in central Kentucky and worldwide are dealing with another shortage, this time for contrast dye. It’s an imaging solution used in medical screenings like CT scans.

In March, COVID-19 shut down production of the dye at a GE manufacturing facility in Shanghai. Now, hospitals here are starting to feel the impact.

To maintain its volume of contrast dye, UK is making some changes.

“Cancelling or rescheduling with a different type of scan, or rescheduling for a longer period out, or changing scans with contrast or without contrast,” said Dr. Ashley Montgomery-Yates, a physician leader at UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

Dr. Montgomery-Yates and radiologist Jason Harris said the dye is essential in their work. Dr. Harris said he has concerns about delaying screening appointments.

“We had a person with ankle pain and it had been there a couple weeks and they came in and they had a bone tumor,” Dr. Harris said.

Some doctors have used lower doses of the dye, which comes with a risk.

“At the end of the day we have to get something that’s going to give us an answer, otherwise it’s a useless study,” Dr. Harris said.

Right now the Lexington Diagnostic Center isn’t seeing a shortage of contrast dye, but they are expecting a lot of referrals in the coming weeks.

“We are prepared to see an increased number of patients that are going to be referred to us because people don’t want to delay their imaging,” Dr. Harris said.

UK Healthcare said they’re backing off on routine scans to try to accommodate everyone at different times.

“What we don’t want to do is be in a situation where we might not have the contrast we need to do things that are life sustaining,” Dr. Montgomery-Yates said.

Dr. Montgomery-Yates said the UK Healthcare staff has been told the supply of the dye is expected to bounce back by July 1. She said nothing is confirmed.

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