Published on May 5, 2011, on DiagnosticImaging.com
By Whitney L.J. Howell
The two-year medical isotope shortage plaguing nuclear medicine is over. The five reactors providing two essential isotopes are fully functional, but industry leaders hope the flush supply won’t tempt you to abandon conservation efforts to return to business as usual.
Technetium-99m and molybdenum-99 are readily available after a spate of scheduled reactor maintenance and forced shutdowns. The specter of future shortages hangs in the air, however, because the United States has no domestic isotope supplier, current reactors are old, and new ones aren’t expected until 2015.
“No one is complaining because supply is back to normal,” said Robert Atcher, M.D., immediate past president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM). “Things have returned to where they were, but that can be both good and bad news if we don’t maintain the savings measures from the last few years.”
According to SNM, the recent shortage affected roughly 84 percent of radiologists. You took steps to ensure you met patient needs within an acceptable time frame – at most, Atcher said, delaying tests by 24-to-48 hours.
To read the remainder of the story online: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/nuclear/content/article/113619/1855953