ALERT: Iodinated Contrast Media Shortages Expected to Continue Through June. Consider SPECT or PET as Alternatives for CTA Patients.

Recently, GE Healthcare reported a series of supply interruptions in iodinated contrast media, specifically iohexol (Omnipaque) and iodixanol (Visipaque). These agents are used in computed tomography (CT) scans, X-rays, interventional radiology and in cardiac catheterization. 

The supply of radiopharmaceuticals is stable. Stress nuclear cardiac studies, such as SPECT and PET, are often clinically appropriate alternatives for patients who are scheduled for CT angiography. IV iodinated contrast agents are needed for CT angiography but are not needed for noncontrast CT for calcium scoring. 

The use of SPECT or PET MPI allows a clinician to assess for the presence, extent and severity of ischemia. By combining MPI with a noncontrast calcium score as part of the routine MPI protocol, a clinician can also assess for the presence, extent and severity of coronary artery atherosclerosis. This protocol allows for a comprehensive assessment of ischemia and atherosclerosis with SPECT/CT or PET/CT without the use of IV contrast dye.   


According to GE Healthcare, the shortage of iohexol is due to COVID-19-related government shutdowns in China while the iodixanol shortages have resulted from increased demand. The company reports its supplies of iohexol will be affected through the end of June 2022 and no information on iodixanol availability is currently available. 

The full communication on the shortages is available here