ACR advises on Tc-99m shortage

The Reston, VA-based American College of Radiology (ACR) says "severe cutbacks" are occurring in nuclear cardiology with the loss of more than 50% of the North American molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) supply, due to the prolonged shutdown of the Chalk River nuclear reactor in Ottawa, Canada.

The ACR noted that urgent nuclear cardiology studies may be performed with the cyclotron-produced radiopharmaceutical thallium-201 (thallous chloride) in the absence of the isotope technetium (Tc-99m).

For noncardiac imaging with nuclear medicine materials, which includes tests for cancer and other disorders, the organization said there are very few practical alternatives to Tc-99m radiopharmaceuticals. Other radiology imaging modalities have limited capability and capacity to fill the void.

The ACR also said it is looking into ways to help radiologists and other nuclear medicine providers during the shortage.

Related Reading

Canada urges end to medical isotope problems, December 7, 2007

Warning issued on radioisotope supply, December 6, 2007

Nuclear medicine tests hit by Canadian reactor shutdown, December 6, 2007

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