The resumed production of GE Healthcare’s Omnipaque products is a welcome development for radiologists scrambling to come up with alternative dosing and imaging options in the past month during the temporary shortage of iodinated contrast media.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Shanghai, GE Healthcare recently announced that the production of iodinated contrast media (ICM) with the Omnipaque products (iohexol) at its Shanghai plant will “be close to 100 percent” starting on Monday, June 6.
“This will enable us to restabilize our global supply of iodinated contrast media,” emphasized GE Healthcare in the update statement.
In a recent interview (see video clip below), Joseph Cavallo, M.D., said the temporary shortage of iodinated contrast media also represented an opportunity to reexamine imaging protocols and identify where non-contrast imaging or alternative imaging could be viable options moving forward without affecting image quality.
“Especially with some of the newer scanners, many imaging protocols out there probably overdose, to a certain degree, the iodinated contrast media,” suggested Dr. Cavallo, an assistant professor of radiology and biomedical imaging at the Yale University School of Medicine.
(Editor's note: For related content, see "Iodinated Contrast Media: Practical Solutions and Applications in Radiology.")
Dr. Cavallo said modification of imaging protocols could also lead to reduced expenses as well as a reduction in the amount of radiation dosing that patients are exposed to.
In a separate interview, Sean Bryant, M.D., the owner and president of Diversified Radiology, concurred that during the daily hustle and bustle of practice, there is a tendency for “protocol creep” to occur. He acknowledged that the ICM shortage compelled radiologists to modify their protocols by incorporating updates from recent literature and emerging recommendations from the American College of Radiology.
However, Dr. Bryant, a neuroradiologist, also emphasized preserving contrast use when appropriate and not trying to “shave off a little bit of volume just to save a few dollars.
“I want us to be careful on a slippery slope of just trying to reduce the doses without a really compelling or emergent reason to change policy,” noted Dr. Bryant, a clinical assistant professor in the department of neuroradiology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the University of California San Francisco.