COVID-19 shutdown causes surprising global shortage of ‘contrast fluids’ used for CT scans, x-rays and MRIs
COVID-19 shutdown causes surprising global shortage of ‘contrast fluids’ used for CT scans, x-rays and MRIs

COVID-19 shutdown causes surprising global shortage of ‘contrast fluids’ used for CT scans, x-rays and MRIs

Hospitals is just about to learn about and are very concerned that a shortage of the fluid they use to make CT scans and MRI scans more readable may last until the end of June.

E.g, University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital issued this warning and said it would rationize the use of the dye and some elective operations will be delayed:

COVID-19 shutdowns in Shanghai, China, have caused a significant global lack of intravenous contrast used for imaging procedures such as enhanced X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. IV contrast is also used in procedures where the dye helps to show the anatomy; with a cardiac catheterization, the contrast causes the blood to “light up” as it passes through the heart so a doctor can see the blood flow.

The IV contrast deficiency is expected to last until at least June 30th.

Hospitals around the world are preparing for the effects that the shortage will have on patient care.

It reported KIRO-TV in Seattle about the impact the shortage had on the University of Washington’s medical facility:

UWMC performs about 1,000 CT scans a week, he said. Most people use the contrast in lack.

The lack of contrast comes from production shutdowns at Shanghai, China-based factories run by pharmaceutical company GE Healthcare. The facilities were temporarily closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns ordered by the Chinese government. While the facilities are reportedly in full production again, the closure has resulted in a shortage that could affect hospitals into July.

Providence’s Swedish system, which includes Olympia’s Providence Saint Peter Hospital, said its stocks of contrast are at “critical” levels. GE provides approximately 97 percent of its iodine-based contrast.

About 60 percent of CT scans use a contrast agent that is used to distinguish between organs and detect lesions. The same iodine contrast is used in other procedures such as angiograms.

It is usually administered intravenously.

The shortage appears to have taken medical institutions by surprise. UW learned about the shortage last Friday. Providence Swedish notified its staff of the shortage on Wednesday.

GE controls most of the contrast market in the United States. Hospitals that contract for a drug generally use only one provider. This can be a problem if the supplier falls short with a particular drug.

The Greater New York Hospital Association told members that the facility that does the contrast solution is open, but it will take a while to catch up:

While the plant has reopened and increased production, GE expects an 80% reduction in supplies over the next 6-8 weeks.

MDLINX reported:

A spokesman for the American Hospital Association (AHA) confirmed the shortage on May 5, saying hospitals have been reporting low supplies for about a week.

With low stocks of IV contrast, the AHA expects this to affect any CT imaging that requires media. Under normal circumstances, it is estimated that more than 75 million CT scans are performed annually in the United States.

“Hospitals are exploring different preservation strategies, including the use of other imaging technologies, the use of other contrast agents, the rationing of contrast – to give a few examples – to try to continue providing care,” Milligan said.

Milligan added that the AHA has raised the issue with the Biden administration.

Interestingly, rumors of the shortage have been circulating for a while on, of all places, Reddit. From 22 April r / medicine sub-Reddit posts described impending shortages in California, Texas and Maryland.

MDLINX says this is just the latest of several shortcomings caused by COVID lockdowns in China.

Ongoing shortages due to supply chain disruptions include heparin, 50% dextrose injection, diphenhydramine injectionand various local anesthetics.

As with other industries, the manufacture and shipment of drugs, medical devices, and basic supplies such as PPE have been hampered by a confluence of a number of factors.

U.S. ports have experienced record levels of congestion, making it difficult to distribute goods. Freight and transportation costs have increased with the price of fuel. Raw materials have become more difficult to obtain. Natural disasters – and most recently the war in Ukraine – have disrupted markets. Lack of labor has made goods more difficult to manufacture and ship. And China, a major producer of medical products, is facing an energy crisis.

COVID-19 hospital admissions fell back to the level in early April in New York City but the rate of infection is increasing and Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan told CNN that the city could consider a number of options, including the return of a masked mandate – if positivity rates continue to rise.

Keep an eye on this as the week unfolds.

This is not a threat to humans, but it does cause millions of birds in the United States to be killed as agricultural officials and farmers try to slow down the spread of this virus. The Washington Post gives us an update:

37 million chickens and turkeys have been killed on U.S. farms since February due to the latest outbreak, according to the Department of Agriculture, and about 950 cases of bird flu have been found in wild birds, including at least 54 bald eagles.

Bird flu takes unheard of toll on bald eagles and other birds.

In Virginia, officials said they discovered bird flu in February among a “backyard flock” of about 90 turkeys, chickens and ducks in Fauquier County. No bird flu has been detected in DC, officials said.

“The numbers are just staggering in terms of poultry,” said Charlie Broaddus, the state veterinarian in Virginia.

One of the biggest factors in the spread of bird flu this year, he said, is that it is carried by wild ducks and geese that are infected but “typically are not affected” by it.

Pew’s Stateline news service looked at the huge toll that the pandemic inflicted on bus lines around the country.

Many private bus companies across the United States have faced severe hardships during the pandemic. It did not matter whether they drove routes from city to city, transported commuters or arranged charters and trips.

Across the country, many people who do not have cars or do not drive a car, especially students or people with limited means, are dependent on intercity buses. If these routes are cut off or eliminated, they can be left in the socket.

Transport experts consider intercity services to be significant infrastructure. They often operate in areas where there may be no alternative transport.

And in many small towns, local charter bus operators serve school groups, senior adult clubs, and other community organizations. Without them, residents may have few options if they want to plan sporting events, church retreats or sightseeing tours.

The pandemic hit the bus industry hard.

The riders disappeared. Officials worked from home. Schools taught students at a distance, so there were no excursions or sporting events.

Bus companies cut services, eliminated routes and laid off workers. Buses stood still. Despite $ 1 billion in federal aid, many companies, especially those that ran charters, could not cope and shut down.

As of December 2019, there were 3,878 bus cars in the United States, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. At the end of February, there were 1,940.

The charter bus lines survive a little better, but still run far behind the level before the pandemic. And as you might imagine, there are far fewer bus drivers now.

points out CBS News that if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, states may need to take a fresh look at how they support women in raising children.

More women living in states without access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overthrown are likely to be convicted. Yet one of the two dozen states with laws on the books that restrict access to abortion does not offer paid family leave.

Eight of them have opted out of expanding Medicaid coverage under the Health Act, which covers pregnancy through postpartum for low-income Americans.

And Mississippiwhose law on abortion restrictions is at the heart of an impending Supreme Court decision to overthrow Roe v. Wade, ranks as the state with the highest rate of infant poverty and low birth weight and among the highest when it comes to infant mortality.

Twenty-six states are either safe or probable ban abortion if Roe is overthrown, according to the Guttmacher Institute. And 13 states have “trigger laws” that would impose a ban soon after the high court ruling.

The United States is one of the few countries that does not offer paid maternity leave. The Family Sick Leave Act gives up to 12 weeks free to have and take care of a baby, but without pay. Only 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, offer paid family leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan offered one column on why journalists should take this moment in history to reconsider how different political sides have captured moral climax by adopting phrases such as “pro-life.” Instead, she says, journalists should find out what the person is for or against exactly and describe it instead of using generalized labels. The same goes for a “pro-choice” brand: Tell me what the person will choose.

Similarly, she says, calling a doctor who performs abortions as part of their practice should not make them an “abortion doctor” if it is a procedure they perform in addition to many others in their practice.

SFGate is exploring the explosive growth of lending to points of sale that TikTok and Instagram videos take advantage of – and with a click or two you can get what you want and pay for it in short-term installments.

Think of it as one cross between old-fashioned layaways and credit cards. Point-of-sale buyers can get their goods and then pay for them in installments over a period of months. Most of the loans do not require a credit check. Unlike credit cards, you can land one of these loans by downloading an app and getting a quick approval. The conditions do not include interest for people who pay on time, but miss a payment, and interest of up to 30% plus service fees can kick in.

SFGate reports:

In 2021, Americans spent more than $ 20 billion on purchases now, pay later services, an ever-increasing portion of $ 870 billion a year online shopping cake.

Gen Z in particular has fallen in love with short-term loans and now spends 925% more through points of sale than in January 2020. However, combining almost instant loans with a social media culture that has added influences and prioritises excessive spending and normalizing debt can further bring young people’s financial future is in danger through only four easy payments.

“These buy now, pay later programs encourage people to spend beyond their means because they’re like, ‘Oh, well, it’s just that amount over four months,'” Celesta, a Bay Area fashion influencer at TikTok, who posts as @itscelesta, told SFGATE. (She refused to disclose her last name.) “People almost like to brag or joke with that ‘oh, that was only 24 payments at $ 20’ or ‘I got it with Afterpay, so it’s technically free’.”

Retailers like these new services because when customers use them, they tend to buy a lot more things. The SF Gate story says that about 28% of black Americans have used a point of sale loan compared to 14% of whites.


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