May 20, 2022

A Message for the Tufts Medicine Integrated Network, including primary and specialty care physicians, practice administrators and other Network leaders

Update on Worldwide Shortage of Iodinated Contrast

Tufts Medicine continues to be affected by a global shortage of iodinated contrast media. One of the primary manufacturers of contrast is experiencing shortages due to reduced manufacturing capacity and freight delays caused by the recurrent COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China. While it is hoped that the normal supply will resume in mid or late-June 2022, it appears likely that the shortage may stretch into September.
These contrast agents are used in a variety of clinical procedures, including CT exams, angiograms, and many interventional procedures. All Tufts Medicine entities, including Lowell General Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and MelroseWakefield Hospital, are impacted by the supply chain interruptions.
What’s New This Week
Tufts Medicine clinical leaders are working with a broad set of partners and stakeholders to address the shortage. Like all hospitals and radiology practices around the country, our ability to perform imaging will be affected until normal supply resumes. We have partnered with clinical and subject matter experts across our system to identify a series of protocols that will enable us to continue to provide the best care possible to our patients while conserving our contrast supplies.
Review New Tufts Medicine Guidelines Here.
We also endorse the recommendations of the American College of Radiology Committee on Drugs and Contrast Media that radiology practices and hospitals implement a range of strategies to conserve contrast supplies. These recommendations include:
  • Using alternative non-contrast studies;
  • Using alternative versions of contrast media, which may be marketed under a different brand name or intended clinical use;
  • Tailoring individual doses administered to reduce waste;
  • Using alternatives to nonionic contrast for oral, rectal, genitourinary administration; and
  • Working with colleagues who use iodinated contrast to prioritize supply usage.
Our current contrast supply continues to be treated as Tufts Medicine inventory and will be shared across the system according to need. The supply chain team continues to closely monitor our stores and track burn rates to accurately estimate days on hand based on demand. 
Action Required 
All ordering clinicians and care teams are encouraged to adhere to the Tufts Medicine Guidelines and order non-contrast CT exams judiciously when clinically appropriate. Radiologists are available to discuss alternatives to iodinated contrast and will ultimately determine when contrast is used. 

We will continue to monitor and report to you on this shortage, and the actions we are taking to address it. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together through this challenging situation.

Please contact your organization’s Chief Medical Officer with any additional questions. 

Michael Wagner, MD, FACP
Chief Physician Executive
Tufts Medicine
The Tufts Medicine Integrated Network is a distinctively different population health enterprise and value-based care contracting entity. It comprises 2,300 primary care and specialist physicians and advanced practice clinicians, working as Tufts Medicine employees or in private practice, delivering care in community and hospital settings. The Network’s purpose is to build healthier communities and to create healthy, rewarding experiences for our members and care teams. The Network was launched in July 2021 by building upon the legacies of two long-standing, high-performing organizations – Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization and New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA).

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