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Supply chains issues affect CT scans

Contrasting liquid, also known as a dye, used for CT scans is harder to come by forcing doctors to make changes.
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 5:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Contrasting liquid, also known as a dye, used for CT scans is harder to come by forcing doctors to make changes.

Two years ago, Cheryl Michelet was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, throughout her fight against cancer, CT scans became a must. “Now, they are just watching to make sure that the chemo, radiation, and previous surgeries worked, and they are just using CT scans with contrast dye,” explains Michelet.

Michelet says having these regular CT scans has helped her and her doctors tackle the problems as they come along. A vital scan that many patients rely on for various illnesses.

“It allows the radiologist to make an accurate diagnosis and to see things, structures, anatomy, pathology better than they would otherwise,” says Ochsner Radiologist Dr. Quentin Alleva.

Now due to a COVID-19 related shutdown of the biggest manufacturer of the dye in China. Doctors are being forced to push back scan dates or put critical patients over others.

“We are just postponing cases to later date when it’s clinically appropriate to do so. So, putting ahead say four weeks or six weeks, if it is okay to wait that long,” adds Alleva.

Doctors are keeping small supplies on hand for the most critical situation. Some clinics are using alternative imaging options such as pet scans, ultrasounds, or MRIs.

“MRI is a little longer, a little harder to stay stil,l and maybe a little more claustrophobic. The pet scan probably involves more radiation than we like to give if we don’t have to,” says Our Lady of the Lake Cardiologist Dr. Steven Gremillion. Some doctors say they do not always need the dye to do CT scans, but that depends on the current medical issue.

Doctors are hoping the shortage will end soon, but for now they are asking patients to be patient with them as they navigate this problem.

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