Hospital group warns of contrast media shortage

2020 02 06 22 25 0448 Contrast Injector 400

The Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) is warning member hospitals about a temporary shortage of GE Healthcare's Omnipaque iodinated contrast media. GNYHA has given members a list of steps they can take to conserve contrast.

In a May 4 alert, the association said that concentrations and formulations of Omnipaque (iohexol) manufactured at a GE facility in Shanghai, China, are in short supply. The city is currently under COVID-19 lockdown.

Although the Shanghai facility has reopened and is ramping up production, GNYHA said it has learned that GE expects an 80% reduction in supplies for the next six to eight weeks.

Like other contrast agents, Omnipaque is used during CT and x-ray procedures to provide improved visualization of patient anatomy.

The association said it will continue to monitor the situation and is in contact with the New York State Department of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and supply chain partners.

GNYHA also provided a list of conservation strategies to consider:

  • Evaluate how much inventory is on hand.
  • Find other means of securing contrast media, such as alternate wholesalers and distributors.
  • Evaluate incoming CT and x-ray orders to see if alternate imaging modalities can be used.
  • Have discussions with leaders to ensure protocols are evaluated for the appropriate use of contrast media.
  • Consider modifying scanning protocols to scan without contrast and injector protocols to reduce the amount of contrast dose, where appropriate.
  • Communicate conservation and awareness opportunities to radiology and lab technologists.
  • Develop a communication plan for referring physicians and all imaging departments, and employ appropriate use criteria for utilizing contrast-based CT examinations.

When contacted by, a spokeperson for GE noted that the company is working to get Omnipaque deliveries back up to speed.

“Our priority is delivering for our customers and their patients, and we are working around the clock to expand capacity of this product. After having to close our Shanghai manufacturing facility for several weeks due to local COVID policies, we have been able to reopen and are utilizing our other global plants wherever we can. We hope to return to full production capacity as soon as possible,” a company spokesperson said.

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