Navigating the global IV contrast shortage: The experience of a comprehensive cancer center.

Publication date: Jul 07, 2023

In March 2022, a COVID-19 associated lockdown at an intravenous (IV) contrast production facility resulted in global shortages. We report our experience as a comprehensive cancer center navigating the IV contrast shortage. A triage prioritization system was developed to serve as a guideline for ordering clinicians to reduce contrast use. The triage team reviewed all requests and made final determination based on patient history, treatment plan, prior imaging, possible alternative modalities, and competing requests. Our institution performed a median of 194 CT studies per day. Contrast utilization as a percentage of all CTs ordered was approximately 80% prior to the shortage, nadired at 9% during peak shortage, and has since returned to pre-shortage levels. Over the study period, 132 requests were reviewed. Fifty studies (38%) were approved by the team for contrast administration, 56 (42%) were recommended to be performed without contrast, 15 (11%) for a change in modality, and 11 (8%) were felt suitable for delay. There was overall general concordance between the recommendations of the triage team and studies conducted without significant distributional differences (χ2 = 4. 004, two-tailed p = 0. 2610). The concept of resilience involves the development of system-based practices that allow for sustained operations during periods of sudden change, or loss of critical supplies. The effort to optimally allocate limited supply of contrast was an extensive effort across the organization including from senior leadership, IT, radiology, nursing, physicians, and APPs. Concepts from heuristics and behavioral science can aid the conservation of a scarce resource. Decisions made by the team appeared to be sound without any known patient harm associated with a lack of contrast.

Concepts Keywords
Apps CT
Radiology Disaster management
Shortages IV contrast
Triage Triage team


Type Source Name
disease MESH cancer
disease MESH COVID-19
disease IDO production
disease IDO facility
disease VO report
disease IDO history
disease VO organization
disease VO LACK

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