Saturday, August 12, 2017

Patients suffer as airport checks halt nuclear scans

Mumbai: Nuclear medicine scans, crucial for diagnosis of cancer, heart and kidney diseases, have come to a halt at several leading centres of the country as the key radioactive material — technetium-99m generators — vital to perform the tests have been stuck at Mumbai and New Delhi airports for clearance since one week.
Thousands of scans in Mumbai hospitals have been cancelled as none of the centres, including Jaslok, PD Hinduja, SevenHills, Lilavati, HN Reliance Foundation and Kokilaben Ambani, have received the generators since Monday. At three of the busiest nuclear medicine centres in India—the PGIMER in Chandigarh, AIIMS in New Delhi and SGPGI, Lucknow—only skeletal services could be provided. Delhi's Army Hospital too has been hit by the shortage. Over 90 generators that could have been used to perform nearly 10,000 scans are decaying at the airports, even as patients are being turned away from hospitals.
By Saturday, the generators may be rendered useless as the radioactive material only has a week's shelf-life. Due to their unavailability, diagnosis and treatment of several diseases have got delayed. Nuclear scans provide complete information about the functionality of an organ, unlike CT or MRI that give structural information. An estimated 3-4 lakh scans are carried out in the country every week.
12/08/17 Times of India