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Original research
Contrast conservation measures during the global iohexol contrast shortage crisis did not affect stroke thrombectomy outcomes


Background The current global shortage in iohexol contrast material (Omnipaque) used in performing CT-based triage images and mechanical thrombectomy (MT) represents a challenge to the healthcare system. A study was undertaken to assess the safety and feasibility of implementing protocol-based changes in pre-MT and MT workflow at a comprehensive stroke center.

Methods A retrospective cohort study was undertaken of all patients with stroke who underwent MT during a 3-week period before implementing the contrast shortage protocol and for 3 weeks while implementing the protocol. The contrast shortage protocol included not performing perfusion images for MT selection and using diluted iohexol (50% contrast mixed with 50% heparinized saline) during the MT procedure. Procedural variables were compared between the two groups.

Results A total of 27 patients underwent MT during the study period, 12 pre-contrast shortage and 15 post-contrast shortage. The average contrast volume used during the MT procedure was reduced from 83 mL to 68 mL after implementing the contrast shortage protocol (p=0.04). No difference was noted in the rate of successful reperfusion (11/15 vs 10/12), average time to recanalization (21 vs 23 min), average radiation dose (1143 vs 1117mGy) and time under fluoroscopy (20.7 vs 20.5 min) in the pre- and post-contrast shortage groups. A favorable discharge outcome was observed in 3/12 patients and 4/15 patients in the pre- and post-shortage periods, respectively (p=0.92).

Conclusions Modifying stroke workflow to adapt to the current global shortage in iohexol is feasible. Using diluted iohexol (50% contrast mixed with 50% heparinized saline) did not affect MT outcomes.

  • Stroke
  • Thrombectomy

Data availability statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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