US Shortage of Isotope Used in Bone and Heart Scans
Herbert Klein MD, a nuclear medicine specialist, writes:
As the following item indicates, there is a shortage of technetium-99m, the basic radioisotope for bone scans, as well as heart scans,
kidney scans, etc: Isotope Crisis Threatens Medical Care
So far, in the nuclear medicine department where I practice, there have been no problems, but there might be in the days to come.
As far as bone scans are concerned, this might be a boost for F-18 fluoride PET bone scans (not the usual PET scan), which may be better, but there could then be availability problems too–e.g. time for them on the scanners. There has been a reimbursement problem with them up to now, also.
The problem may blow over–or may not. Amazingly, we have had to rely on foreign countries, mainly Canada, to supply molybdenum-99, the “mother” of technetium-99m, and there have been many crises when the manufacturing systems were “down” for one reason or another, but the current one seems worse.