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Three Contrast Agents Associated with MRI Health Risks

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Reston, VAThere are three common types of gadolinium-based contrast agents that radiologists should avoid using with patients with kidney disease to avoid MRI health risks.

An advisory from the American College of Radiology warns that gadodiamide, gadopentetate dimeglumine and gadoversetamide can cause nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) among patients with acute renal failure or severe chronic kindey disease.

US Food and Drug Administration statistics show that as of December 2009, 382 patients out of 13 million who received gadodiamide when getting an MRI developed NSF. There were 195 reported cases of NSF out of 23 million patients who received gadopentetate dimeglumine and 35 cases out of 4.7 million patients who were given gadoversetamide.

While the problem is relatively rare, it is not yet curable, says Dr Richard Cohan, professor of abdominal radiology at the University of Michigan. The doctor told HealthLeaders Media that about 90 percent of those with kidney disease will not develop NSF if they receive one of the contrast agents, but those who do often experience a hardening and stiffening of their skin, joints and muscles.

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