CT Contrast Shortage Information for Physicians

On April 19, GE Healthcare informed customers that two widely used contrast media for CT scans, iohexol and iodixanol, would be in limited supply. A COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China, has temporarily shut down the production facility located there.

UCSF has activated conservation strategies that include using noncontrast CT, using other imaging modalities such as ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and MRI; using the contrast on hand as efficiently and as prudently as possible to ensure adequate stores for inpatients and emergency department exams; and rescheduling some exams to a later date.

CT project team members


Covid shutdowns in China are delaying medical scans in the US, Washington Post, May 11, 2022. Interview with Dr. Christopher Hess, Chair, UCSF Radiology & Biomedical Imaging

Common uses of iodinated contrast agents

Contrast media or dye is used before x-ray imaging tests such as CT scans. It is usually delivered intravenously or orally. The dye improves CT images of organs and vessels to aid your doctor's diagnosis.

Alternatives to contrast enhanced CT scans include: CT scans without intravenous contrast or other exam types such as ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and nuclear medicine imaging.

Reducing the use of iodinated contrast to preserve supply

UCSF requests that researchers postpone non-essential use of iohexol - 5/10 message from Harold Collard, MD, MS, Associate Vice Chancellor of Clinical Research

IV Contrast Shortage: section-specific contrast use reduction guidelines (restricted to UCSF)

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