Gadolinium Contrast Agents used in MRI, MRA, and CT Scans Linked to Rare and Serious Medical Condition Called Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF)
During MRI's, doctors use intravenous contrast agents such as Omniscan, ProHance, Magnevist, MultiHance or OptiMARK, which all contain Gadolinium. Gadolinium is a white-colored, rare-earth chemical element represented by the symbol Gd. During magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), any one of these intravenous contrast agents are used to assist doctors in obtaining a clear, detailed image of a patients vessels or internal organs. These procedures are generally used to detect any abnormalities such as tumors.
Initially approved in Canada in 1994, Omniscan was approved for use in the United States in1993, and has become the most commonly utilized contrast agent. Like all other contrast agents, Omniscan provides contrast enhancement and facilitates visualization of abnormal structures or lesions in various parts of the body including the central nervous system. Adverse reaction reports following the use of Omniscan began being reported in 1996, prompting the manufacturer, GE Healthcare, to issue a safety advisory for Omniscan on June 6, 2006. The advisory warned patients and physicians that "the use of the Omniscan contrast medium (dye) in an MRI or MRA on a patient with pre-existing renal (kidney) issues may lead to that patient developing a very serious medical condition involving the skin called Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), which is also known as Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD)."
Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), first announced in 2000, is a systemic disorder with its most prominent and visible effects on the skin. Currently, there is no effective treatment available for NSF. According to the NIH, NSF is strongly related to the use of gadolinium dyes for MRI scans and is also highly likely in those suffering from advanced kidney disease. In a study published in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, it was noted that 5 out of 9 patients diagnosed with NSF had received an MRI involving use of Omniscan Contrast Dye.
Symptoms of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis
- burning and/or itchy skin
- hardened, darkened, shiny skin
- tight, sensitive skin
- loss of joint flexibility
- joint pain (deep pain in the hips or ribs)
- impaired movement
- muscle weakness
- yellowed eyes
If you believe you have developed NSF after exposure to Gadolinium it is imperative that you contact your physician for an examination which may involve a skin biopsy.
Last Updated (Monday, 20 December 2010 12:55)