National shortage of contrast dye could impact Virginia hospitals, postpone certain procedures

Due to a COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China, where it’s mainly produced, it may impact the U.S.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – COVID-19 is still impacting U.S. hospitals — this time through a national shortage of contrast dye.

Doctors say it’s typically used in certain procedures and radiographic imaging, like X-rays and CT scans.

Due to a COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China, where it’s mainly produced, it may impact the U.S.

“The next two weeks or so are going to be the worst. You’re going to have trouble getting any of this supplied. There are still some allocations, but significantly less than what we’re used to,” said Dr. Christopher Lewis, Senior VP and Chief Clinical Officer for Centra.

He says the shortage could even last through July.

Dr. Lewis believes Centra has enough supply for now, but they are postponing certain, non-critical procedures as a precaution.

“We have to start being very mindful of how we use this contrast, how much we can use; and we really have to select what we use it for,” said Dr. Lewis.

Dr. Carnell Cooper, the Chief Medical Officer at LewisGale, says, fortunately, they also have enough supply.

“It will have no impact on our ability to deliver care to our patients,” said Dr. Cooper.

He says LewisGale works closely with large corporations that can provide resources, so they do not have to reschedule any procedures.

“It is business as usual for us,” said Dr. Cooper.

10 News also reached out to Carilion and Sovah Health.

Statement from Dr. Gunn-Nolan, Market Chief Medical Officer for Sovah Health:

“Sovah Health monitors supplies and potential supply chain challenges daily and keeps in constant communication with internal stakeholders as well as external resources regarding any shortages. Currently, we are not seeing any critical shortage of contrast dye and are performing contrasted studies and procedures under normal operations. As we monitor, if we start to see a critical impact on our supply for contrast dye, then we will take additional precautions.”

Statement from Carilion Clinic:

“Carilion Clinic is aware of and continues to monitor the iodinated contrast shortage. While our area is not immune to the global shortage, we have not experienced significant disruption to services.”

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.