Labs returning to normal after isotope shortage

Labs in Red Deer are almost back to normal after a decline in the international supply of radioactive isotopes for nuclear medical testing.

Labs in Red Deer are almost back to normal after a decline in the international supply of radioactive isotopes for nuclear medical testing.

Doug Abrams, director of Radio Pharmaceutical Centre in Edmonton, said in recent weeks the lab at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, which gets the isotopes from a company that relies on a reactor in Holland, was testing the most urgent patients and rescheduling others.

“Next week (the Red Deer hospital) should be up to capacity. Central Alberta Medical Imaging Services gets their supply from us so they will also be back to normal,” Abrams said on Thursday.

The Holland reactor was down last week for a planned closure but is now back up.

Radio Pharmaceutical Centre, with Alberta Health Services, gets 80 per cent of the isotopes from Holland and 20 per cent from a reactor at Chalk River, Ont.

Each reactor supplies about one-third of the isotopes used around the world.

The Canadian reactor is expected to be down for about three months to be fixed.

About 80 per cent of testing that uses the radioactive isotopes are for bone cancer and heart disease scans.

Patients are injected with radioactive drugs to show how the body is functioning. Radioactivity emitted from the body is captured in a picture with a gamma camera.

Abrams said physicians were deciding which patients were a priority for testing and which could be safely rescheduled.

He did not know how long patients in Red Deer were waiting to be tested.

“We’ve been coping with the problem really well and there hasn’t been a large problem scheduling patients,” Abrams said about labs in Alberta.

The Holland reactor has ramped up production to meet the demand and the supply should be good for about four weeks. But that reactor is scheduled to shut down for four weeks in mid-July, which will impact the supply again.

“That will be a difficult situation, difficult to predict.”

Work is underway for other reactors around the world to help with the demand, Abrams said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update City Hall Park is set to begin Monday. The… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Canada’s tax system unfairly favours wealthy, poll of CRA auditors suggests

OTTAWA — A recent union-sponsored survey suggests an overwhelming majority of federal… Continue reading

Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair continues to lead fight against MS

TORONTO — Christine Sinclair continues to have an impact on and off… Continue reading

In Franklin’s anthems, women heard an empowering message

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin never saw herself as a feminist heroine.… Continue reading

Happy birthday Boler: 100s of cute campers in Winnipeg for anniversary gathering

WINNIPEG — Angela Durand sits outside her camper which is decorated to… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month