American College of Radiology points threat mitigation methods to handle distinction media scarcity
  • Reading time:7 min(s) read

GE Healthcare was compelled to close a manufacturing plant in April due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, China. This plant provides a lot of the iodinated distinction media (ICM) used within the United States for imaging research and image-guided remedies. Over 40% of computerized tomography (CT) research use these brokers, and plenty of healthcare methods solely have restricted provides.

Recommendations from the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) that information imaging suppliers and their establishments on tips on how to handle this emergency regionally seem within the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR), printed by Elsevier. JACR additionally presents case research from two healthcare methods that have been in a position to cut back their ICM utilization by at the very least 50%, offering useful information to assist practices prioritize and inform well being system resolution making in the course of the disaster.

In the assertion from the ACR, lead writer Carolyn L. Wang, MD, University of Washington, Department of Radiology, Seattle, WA, USA, and colleagues said, “Our recommendations are not exhaustive or prescriptive. They are intended as a resource for healthcare providers to provide high-quality patient care during times of shortage of contrast media.”

Recommended threat mitigation methods embody:

  • Use various research, comparable to non-contrast CT, MR with or with out gadolinium-based distinction media, and ultrasound with or with out ultrasound distinction brokers, and use of PET/CT when possible.
  • Look for various distributors and variations of distinction brokers, which can be marketed below a special model title or scientific use.
  • Use a single vial for multiple affected person solely below the steerage of certified healthcare personnel from the institutional pharmacy due to the chance of contamination and an infection.
  • Minimize particular person dosages to scale back waste. Options embody weight-based dosing for CT in accessible vial sizes and/or utilizing decrease doses at the side of low peak kilovoltage protocols or dual-energy protocols to enhance distinction brightness.
  • Reserve increased focus brokers for angiographic and multiphase research, which require optimum vascular visualization.
  • Use options to nonionic distinction for oral, rectal, and genitourinary administration.

According to Dr. Wang, it is very important word that these brokers are utilized by departments aside from radiology, together with urology, radiation oncology, ache administration, gastroenterology, vascular surgical procedure, and cardiology. Prioritization of restricted provides have to be coordinated all through the system.

When the scarcity was introduced, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) recognized a reserve of seven to 10 days’ price of ICM readily available. They acknowledged instantly that extraordinary steps could be wanted to preserve the remaining provide. Laveil M. Allen, MD, Executive Medical Director and Section Chief of Emergency Radiology, and Reed A. Omary, MD, MS, Chair of the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, VUMC, Nashville, TN, USA, and co-authors share actions taken to develop mitigation, communication, prioritization, and procurement methods.

“Imaging services are the eyes of medicine and preserving our ability to diagnose the most critically ill patients is essential to quality care,” defined Dr. Allen.

A radiology command middle workforce (RCCT) was created instantly. They tracked distinction exhaustion threat (CER) ranges, which have been up to date every day to mirror the quantity of distinction readily available and estimated provide remaining. A tiered technique for outpatient imaging facilities was created to establish sufferers whose want for a distinction picture was important and sufferers whose research might be delayed or changed by an alternate research. Outpatient CT orders throughout the system have been collected centrally and reviewed by a subspecialty radiologist on the RCCT to substantiate the tier degree or recommend a tier change with the referring clinician. Communication throughout the well being care system was key.

VUMC’s mixed technique of organising an RCCT, forming multidisciplinary partnerships, and implementing distinction mitigation methods decreased distinction use by 50% in lower than seven days. “Hopefully, our shared mitigation strategies can provide clarity on a path forward in this time of crisis,” famous Dr. Omary.

At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the Department of Radiology’s mitigation technique made protocol adjustments throughout the board to preserve ICM for makes use of wherein various choices should not accessible. Every contrast-enhanced CT examination already scheduled is being scored by a radiologist as “contrast-enhanced,” “non-contrasted,” “reschedule,” or “route to alternative examination to prioritize contrast administration.”

Some sufferers are being redirected to an MRI or ultrasound research. Because MRI requires pre-authorization, institutional management is participating with payer management to clarify the potential enhance in MRI orders to hasten the authorization course of and stop pointless delays.

With improved workflows, decreased inefficiencies, and nursing workers freed up from intravenous line placements for contrast-enhanced CT redeployed to MRI, the division has achieved important distinction use discount, exceeding their goal of fifty%.

“Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has helped radiology departments become more nimble and develop rapid response functionality to manage crises, including the iohexol contrast shortage, and potential future crises that we will face,” noticed senior writer Mahmud Mossa-Basha, MD, Professor, Vice Chair, Quality and Safety, and Medical Director, MRI, Department of Radiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

While most reviews printed concerning the ICM scarcity have been clinically targeted, a bunch of researchers has printed a brand new research utilizing empiric utilization information that might assist prioritize and inform well being system selections by focusing mitigation efforts on areas wherein distinction media are extra ceaselessly used. They obtained and retrospectively analyzed information from the Medicare Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary Limited Data Set for 2019. This dataset contains 100% of 2019 Medicare Part-B fee-for-service claims.

Researchers extracted nationwide counts for providers for all contrast-enhanced CT providers by physique area and website of service (inpatient and outpatient hospital, workplace, and emergency division) and separated these codes into CT angiography (CTA) and nonangiographic CT providers. They discovered that utilization of contrast-enhanced CT was highest within the hospital outpatient and emergency division settings. Overall utilization was highest for the stomach/pelvis and chest in these settings, with stomach/pelvis essentially the most ceaselessly rendered by far. The ratio of CTA to nonangiographic contrast-enhanced CT was biggest by far for the mind within the emergency division adopted by the inpatient hospital setting. Across all locations of service, this ratio is highest for mind, head/neck, and chest.

“Radiology practices and departments may find their greatest mitigation impact focusing on abdominal/pelvic and chest CT in the emergency department and hospital outpatient settings, as well as brain and head/neck CTA in the emergency department and hospital inpatient settings,” defined lead investigator Richard Duszak, Jr, MD, Professor and Vice Chair and Director of the Imaging Policy Analytics for Clinical Transformation (IMPACT) Research Center, the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.

“We believe that the highlighted site of service and body region differences may help guide the creation of the most impactful specialty teams. Identification of settings and scenarios where CTA is most frequently used may help guide alternative imaging care pathways and most effectively and safely re-allocate resources to alternative modalities,” Dr. Duszak added.

“The field has responded rapidly to the contrast shortage. Any lasting changes, such as patterns of referral or utilization remain to be seen,” commented Ruth C. Carlos, MD, MS, Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.


Journal reference:

Wang, C.L., et al. (2022) Statement from the ACR Committee on Drugs and Contrast Media on the Intravenous Iodinated Contrast Media Shortage. Journal of the American College of Radiology.

If you are interested in working in a distraction free environment, visit our site Blissful Noises where we provide various sounds and features to help you focus or relax.