Gadolinium is a substance that’s been receiving a lot of media coverage lately given the legal battles in which this element is a central issue. Gadolinium is a substance injected into people in preparation for an MRI. It provides a greater contrast between normal and abnormal tissue in the body which allows the MRI scan to be much easier to read.
In people that have kidney problems, the body can have severe problems trying to remove Gadolinium from their system. These problems can result in conditions known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis or Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NSF/NFD).
In December 2006, the FDA had received reports of 90 patients with moderate to last-stage kidney disease who developed NSF/NFD after having an MRI with a gadolinium-based contrast agent.
Symptoms of this condition can include:
- Thickening of the skin
- Hardening of the skin
- Red or dark patches on the skin
- Yellow spots on the whites of the eyes
- Stiffness in joints and trouble moving or straightening the arms and legs
- Pain deep in the hip bones or ribs
- Breathing difficulties
- Muscle weakness
Five gadolinium based contrast agents are approved by the FDA for use during an MRI. The trade names for these products are:
- Multi Hance
None of these agents are approved by the FDA for Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA). The dose of gadolinium based contrast agent given to patients undergoing an MRA is often higher (up to 3 times) than the approved dose for MRI.
In the 90 reports received by the FDA, some of the patients who developed NSF/NFD had been given a high dose of the contrast agent while others had received the recommended amount. In these patients, the NSF/NFD began from 2 days to 18 months after exposure to the contrast agent.
Unfortunately, there are no known cures for this condition and you should seek medical help immediately if you believe you may have issues related to this type of injury. You should also contact us immediately to preserve your rights through the form on the right or toll free at 1-800-404-9000.