FDA acknowledges tourniquet shortage, suggests conserving supply

The FDA confirmed localized tourniquet shortages June 5 and recommended healthcare facilities ration supply, use alternative products and reuse sterilized devices. 

The product in shortage — non-sterile, single-use pneumatic tourniquet cuffs — are used in emergency and trauma settings and elective limb surgeries, the FDA said. 

Before the FDA acknowledged the shortage, Steven Chyung, senior vice president and chief supply chain and procurement officer of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, told Becker's the supply issue is spurring more collaboration between the supply team, clinicians, manufacturers and operators.

"One of the things it causes us to look at is, can we reprocess tourniquets instead of always using single-use?" Mr. Chyung said. "It causes us to think differently with our clinicians around, 'Can we go to a multiuse device?' Then, [we] work with our manufacturers on how we can reprocess there."

The FDA's recommendations parallel this process. The agency said to limit tourniquet use "based on surgical flow needs," reusing devices after cleaning and disinfecting them, and utilize nonpneumatic tourniquet cuffs in elective limb surgical procedures.

Manufacturers are aware of the shortage and are working to increase supply, the agency said.

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