CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is working to ration dwindling supplies of dye used in various medical procedures amid a nationwide shortage.

Dr. Reggie Munden explained that the contrast dye is swallowed or injected into patients and helps highlight certain structures within the body when patients are given CT scans. He said that it is critical in the radiology department.

According to Munden, GE manufactures around half of the dye that is used in the United States. Their largest plant in China was shut down, which significantly cut down the available supply.

When the plant shut down, MUSC began strategizing. They decided they would have to ration what little dye they had and prioritize severe medical issues, such as heart attacks and blood clots.

They also began using other types of scans such as MRIs more often. While CTs are fast and more accurate, other types of scans don’t require dye.

Munden said that while some hospitals around the country are going into crisis mode, MUSC is getting by. He said that preparation was key to mitigating what could have been a crippling issue, and patient care has not been negatively impacted.

The supply is expected to increase again by mid to late June or early July.