May 12, 2022 Update
Like most healthcare providers across the country, Ochsner Health is experiencing a critical shortage of iodinated contrast media products (X-ray dyes) which are needed to conduct CT scans or CAT scans.
This global shortage is the result of COVID-19 lockdowns in China, where most of the world’s supply of the dye is manufactured. We expect this disruption in supply chain to last until at least the end of June.
Unfortunately, this means we need to conserve our supply for our most urgent cases. As a result, we are rescheduling some patient appointments or recommending alternative diagnostic imaging studies.
Ochsner’s Radiology, Pharmacy and Supply Chain teams are following guidance on safe and effective alternatives while actively implementing a multi-faceted plan to ensure our patients receive the highest quality care despite these supply disruptions.
Why can’t I get my exam as scheduled?
Our radiologists use contrast dye to help us better see and understand the CT scan images we take of your body. The supplies of this dye have been affected by manufacturing issues related to COVID-19 lockdowns in China. Right now, our supplies of this dye are low enough that we need to reserve them for patients with emergencies.
When will the dye be back in stock?
At this time we don’t know when it will be back in stock, but anticipate it being a problem through later this summer. At this time, we are projecting scheduling to resume in July, but will adjust as needed based on supply.
What is iodinated contrast?
This is the dye we use for CT scans and other exams. It’s a prescription medicine that’s usually put into the body through an IV to help check different organs for problems such as infection, inflammation, cancer and other things. The contrast often helps us make a diagnosis during a CT exam.
I need an exam right away. Do I have any options?
There are other types of exams that might help with your case. For example, your provider may have you come in for a CT scan that doesn’t use contrast dye, an ultrasound, or an MRI. It will depend on your specific situation. It may also be okay for you to delay the exam until later this summer. Your provider will make the best decision for you.
Can I just go somewhere else for my CT?
Potentially, but the dye shortage is happening around the world. Almost every healthcare provider in the country is also affected by the shortage.
If I go somewhere else, will my insurance cover it?
Please check with your insurance company or the imaging location you use to see if they accept your insurance.
What will be the cost impact of getting a different study than the original CT with contrast?
The cost of each test varies. Your insurance company will determine your out-of-pocket expense. Ochsner will work closely with your insurance company for any pre-authorizations required, including indicating that the chosen test is due to dye shortages.
If I get a different type of exam now, will I still be able to get a CT exam later this year?
Your original CT scan will be rescheduled for later this year if still indicated by your provider.
I have questions about my specific situation. Who should I talk to?
Please contact your provider’s office through MyOchsner with your questions and concerns.
Ochsner offers a full spectrum of radiological services provided by nationally recognized, sub-specialized radiologists. We offer a full array of diagnostic and treatment procedures using some of the most advanced technology available.
- Medical Imaging Services
- MRI: Wide Bore
- MRI: Wide Bore with Caring Suite
- Chest Imaging
- Musculoskeletal Imaging
- Gastrointestinal Imaging
- Non-Invasive Imaging
- Head & Neck Imaging
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Pediatric Radiology
At Ochsner, you have peace of mind knowing that licensed technologists are using the highest quality equipment available, paired with board certified radiologists analyzing your results. Plus, you have the advantage of all your records being in one place with our Electronic Medical Record system. Your physician can easily access results for a faster, more efficient and accurate diagnosis.
Ochsner offers both inpatient and outpatient areas for efficiency and convenience. For emergency cases, procedures are done 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Diagnostic x-ray is also available around the clock in the Emergency Department.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) follows different principals and uses different technology than a typical x-ray. The patient, or their specific body part, is placed in a super-conducting magnet and currents moving through a series of coils create a strong magnetic field. A “pulse” causes the protons in hydrogen nuclei of the body's tissues to resonate varying degrees, generating a signal or electromagnetic wave. This generated signal varies according to the properties of the tissue and the settings of the magnet. The signal is detected by the receiving coil, and, after complex data processing, an image is displayed on the monitor.
Most MRI Units generate a magnetic field strength more than 10,000 times the earth’s magnetic field! Patients with cardiac pacemakers, cochlear implants, some prosthetic heart valves, bone growth stimulators or neurostimulators (TENS), brain aneurysm clips or coils, metal fragments and some penile prostheses cannot undergo MRI tests.
What Is An MRI?
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans are needed for patients with a medical condition that is not easily detected through a more conventional physical exam. MRIs are used to get clearer pictures of soft tissue injuries, the brain, ruptured discs in the neck and back, tears in ligaments and joint injuries. An MRI machine can non-invasively scan head, neck, TMJ, spine, abdomen, pelvis, joints, blood vessels and musculoskeletal regions of the body.
Getting a magnetic resonance imaging test can be a stressful hospital experience for many patients. Patients are scanned with a large magnet to produce detailed images of the body’s soft tissues, but the loud noises produced by the machine and its tight confines can make patients anxious about the experience.
Wide Bore MRI
Insightful Technology Helps Humanize the MRI Experience
This technology, which is the first of its kind in the region and one of only a few in the world, offers a more comfortable, less clinical environment for patients needing an MRI.
The Wide Bore MRI differs from the traditional tunnel-style magnetic resonance imager in which some patients feel confined and uncomfortable. This Wide Bore MRI is more open to comfortably accommodate all patients. The patient-friendly design accommodates patients who are usually difficult to scan, such as larger, claustrophobic, elderly or very young patients or those who are in pain and require a larger imaging system. The large, usable field of view enables proper imaging of off-center anatomy, such as a shoulder or hip. It produces accurate, high-resolution images that can lead to a more precise diagnosis.
Through the Caring Suite technology, this system boasts a range of features to improve the patient experience:
- More spacious testing area
- Quiet technology to reduce noise
- Customizable patient experience designed for you with music, lights and images to help the patient relax during the scan
- Precise imaging capability, resulting in definitive diagnoses and reduced exam times
For information on this technology or to refer a patient, call (504)-842-3480
Since 2005, the Ochsner Cardiovascular Network has taken the lead in Cardiac MRI (CMR) by offering adult and pediatric patients a higher level of diagnostic testing and offering physicians the ease of making referrals. Performing greater than 250 Cardiac MRI’s each year, we are the only health system between Houston and Mobile to perform such a volume each year.
Cervical Aortic Arch with Kommerals Diverticulum
Why Cardiac MRI?
- Tremendous Information
- Excellent Spatial Resolution
- Quantification of Pathology
- Reproducible Serial Assessment of Pathology
- NO: Acoustic Window Limitations, Ionization Radiation
Criteria to Refer a Patient:
- Congenital Heart Disease
- Pericardial Disease
- Cardiac Mass
- Ferrous Material
- Unconnected Cardiac Leads
- Brain Aneursym Clips
- Pacemaker Dependent
For Referring Physicians
Referring physicians, for 24/7 transfers and referrals, call the Regional Referral Center at 1-855-647-5465 (OHS-LINK).
The Ochsner Chest Imaging Center provides the following services:
- General diagnostic radiology
- Chest radiography with dual energy subtraction
- Computed tomography of the body
- CT Angiography of coronary arteries
- CT Angiography of pulmonary arteries
- High resolution CT of pulmonary parenchyma
- CT for small airways disease
- Pneumoconiosis evaluation
The Ochsner Musculoskeletal Imaging program provides patients with the following services:
- Conventional radiography and tomography
- Low dose scoliosis screening
- Spine and bone densitometry
- High resolution spinal and extremity CT
- Musculoskeletal MRI
The Ochsner Gastrointestinal Imaging program provides the following services:
- Conventional radiography
- Abdominal imaging
- Transplant radiology
- Computed tomography
- Doppler imaging
- Gastrointestinal fluoroscopy
The Non-Invasive Imaging Section provides a comprehensive set of patient services as it functions as a cardiovascular diagnostic center for inpatients and outpatients, performing within our lab, we perform various tests are performed including:
- Cardiovascular MRI
- Dobutamine stress echo
- Exercise stress echo
- Exercise treadmill
- Transesophageal echo
- Nuclear stress testing
- Cardiopulmonary stress testing
- Cardiac and vascular CT
- Cardiac PET stress testing
- Vascular ultrasound
Physicians provide immediate interpretation for all cardiovascular studies.
To Schedule A Patient Appointment:
- Greater New Orleans Area & Metairie: 504-842-4010
- Kenner: 504-443-9500
- Northshore: Covington, Mandeville or Abita Springs 985-875-2828
- Slidell: 985-639-3777
Cardiac PET Stress Testing
One of the most effective treatments used in the various medical stages of treating cardiac disease is Positron Emission Tomography. PET scans of the heart is a highly effective imaging tool that is used to diagnose cardiac disease.
The use of PET imaging in cardiac diseases takes two stages. During the first stage, the patient's heart is scanned while at in a state of rest. The images that are produced from this first PET scan will then be checked with a second PET scan. During the second stage, the patient is given a drug (dipyridamole) that produces an effect in the body similar to the effects of strenuous exercise. The scan of the patient's heart taken at this time shows the heart and its arteries in a state of stress. The two scans are then compared to assess whether heart disease is present.
Why PET Stress Testing?
- Better diagnostic accuracy
- Excellent quality
- Ability to detect pre-clinical disease
Head & Neck Imaging
The Ochsner Head & Neck Imaging program provides patients with the following services:
- Conventional radiography and tomography
- Dynamic temporomandibular joint MRI
- Head and neck MRI
- High resolution head and neck CT
The Ochsner Radiology Department is involved in three important activities relevant to cancer: screening, diagnosis, confirmation and treatment of cancer. Screening services evaluate individuals who are at risk for a particular type of cancer (for example, women receive mammography to detect early breast cancer). Diagnostic services include mammography, conventional x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT scans and many other tests. Ochsner physicians are leading the field regionally and nationally in the use of stereotactic core biopsy, an innovative technique for determining whether or not a breast lesion is cancerous. For more information on breast cancer, visit the Lieselotte Tansey Breast Center at Ochsner. In the confirmation and treatment of cancer patients, members of the Radiology Department are instrumental. Sophisticated diagnostic studies can be conducted to look for metastases, for example the spread of colon cancer to other organs such as the liver. Ultrasound can be used intra-operatively to identify lesions that must be removed. Radiologists are also essential in follow-up, to monitor the cancer patient's response to treatment.
The Ochsner Pediatric Radiology program provides patients with the following services:
- Conventional chest and skeletal radiography
- Gastrointestinal fluoroscopy
- High resolution body CT
- Low dose scoliosis screening
- Urography and cystography
- Computed tomography, ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging