Some procedures postponed amid global shortage of contrasting solutions

Queensland Health will reschedule some non-urgent elective procedures due to a critical world-wide shortage of contrast solutions required for a range of medical imaging.

The iodinated solutions are used in computerised tomography (CT) scans and other imaging such as angiography, which supports diagnosis and ongoing treatment for a range of conditions, including narrowed or blocked arteries.

The disruption is due to supply chain issues related to COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai where the supplier’s production facility is situated.

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Services Executive Director Kirstine Sketcher-Baker said the supply of the product Omnipaque (iohexol) and Visipaque (iodixanol), is not expected to be resolved until end of June.

“However, it may take longer than this given the volatility of COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai,” she said.

“Along with the Federal Government, we are also investigating other sourcing options and strategies to conserve stocks and seek other alternatives until this issue is resolved.”

Ms Sketcher-Baker said the Department of Health is working with its hospitals to determine what impact the shortage is having on clinical services.

“For the time being, we will need to reschedule some non-urgent elective procedures that require medical imaging until we can replenish stocks,” she said.

“This is unfortunate but unavoidable, as this product is essential for a number of procedures.

“We are hopeful of quickly resolving this issue with the supplier.”

Affected patients will be contacted by their treating hospitals to reschedule their procedures.

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