Belgian hospitals to resume scans

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Most Belgian hospitals can resume their work which requires medical isotopes this week.

23 September 2008

BRUSSELS -- Most Belgian hospitals can resume their work which requires medical isotopes this week, following the delivery of isotopes to the hospitals.

The University Hospital of Antwerp has received a large delivery of medical isotopes.

"We knew that supply would be better this week. We are trying to work away our backlog now," says Dr Laurens Carp at Antwerp.

Last week the Belgian federal department of public health urged doctors to use other techniques available to make some of their diagnoses. All scans which were not urgent had to be postponed.

Medical isotopes are used to make cancer diagnoses. By injecting the lightly radioactive coloured substance, specialists can make detailed scans of patients.

The isotope shortage stems from temporary shutdowns of three major nuclear reactors in Europe that make the isotopes. The nuclear reactors in France, Belgium and Netherlands were shut down for several reasons such as maintenance and technical repairs.

It is not yet certain how the situation will develop over the coming weeks. The European Association of Nuclear Medicine warned that thousands of patients would be affected by the situation.

[flandersnews.be / Expatica]

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