Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Barium Shortage Affecting Radiology Practices

Published on the Jan. 18, 2013, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Since last fall, radiology practices and departments nationwide have grappled with a continued shortage of barium agents used in multiple imaging studies. Recent reports indicate the shortage shows no sign of slowing, and several providers say they’ve had to alter their approach to patient care.

According to Bracco Diagnostics Inc., a leading, worldwide barium supplier, barium is in low availability globally. A September 2012 letter to customers from the company announced a significant number of barium requests are on backorder.

“With the continued efforts of our barium suppliers, we are attempting to make all of the key backordered products available as soon as possible,” Tom Ortiz, Bracco director of North America CT business and worldwide product director of oral imaging, said in the letter. “However, at this time, there are procedures for which we are unable to provide products.”

For example, Bracco has not fulfilled orders for small bowel, esophageal, and other CT studies.
Scripps Health in California is among those facilities struggling to meet patient needs with a limited barium supply, said Jeremy Enfinger, lead radiologic technologist at the Scripps Mercy Chula Vista Hospital.

“We got to the point where we had scheduled patients but not enough barium to complete the studies for the day,” he said. “There were several times that we used a courier to deliver supplies from one of our other hospitals within the organization. But, eventually, they stopped allowing us to do that because they had also run out.”

With the future barium supply level still in question, Enfinger postulated the industry might be pushed into using more water-soluble contrast agents to fulfill patient needs.

To read the remainder of the article at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/contrast-agents/content/article/113619/2123820

 

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February 4, 2013 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , ,

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