According to the Food and Drug Administration, the use of today's gadolinium chelate-based contrast agents may pose a significant health threat to patients, particularly in those with kidney or liver disease. And according to the website PharmaLive, the FDA has not approved contrast agents for use with MRAs, although market research indicates that about 1.5 million non-invasive procedures for imaging blood vessels will be conducted in the US this year alone using gadolinium-based products.
These figures leave a lot of patients wondering if they are at risk after receiving a gadolinium-based contrast agent, or even if they had the contrast agent during their MRI or MRA.
Within a week of having an MRI with Gadolinium imaging, Kenneth G noticed "skin on my knuckles thickened and cracking...like me skin is stretched," he says. Thickening of skin is one symptom of NSF and NFD disease which causes discoloration and thickening or tightening of the skin and connective tissues that inhibits the ability to move and may result in broken bones. It causes muscle weakness and difficulty bending joints, which can lead to scarring of internal organs that inhibit their ability to function properly.
"I couldn't understand the reason for thickening and cracking of my skin until reading an article that linked MRIs with gadolinium," he says. "Now my concern is of other possible problems yet unknown. I am supposed to have a follow up MRI in 90 days but hesitate to do so."
Due to a herniated disk, Roger had six MRIs over the last few years, and he is sure that contrast dye was used in five of those procedures. "I had no idea what this dye was; I just thought it was part of the MRI," he says. "I asked if there were any side effects before they injected it and the radiologist said it was perfectly safe."
Roger's orthopedic surgeon told him that the dye was necessary so they "could see what was going on." The herniated disc is a chronic problem but now he has another issue.
"I didn't think anything about this dye until my mother read something about it," he says. "After all these MRIs, I went to the hospital about 18 months ago for stomach problems. I needed an IV but they couldn't find a vein because my skin had thickened. I thought this was really weird. Finally they gave me an injection in my butt for pain meds. A second nurse tried to find a vein but she also said that my skin was so thick and that is why she couldn't find a vein.
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I asked the doctors if this dye could have affected me in any way and they said it was a bunch of BS. But I don't believe them after what I'm going through. A simple injection I should be able to get is now impossible. Now I have to get an IV in my hand or the crease of my arm or my ankle. It is really hard for me to move around anymore. And it is definitely not because of my herniated disc; that has just caused specific pain and numbness, not this skin issue or joint pain. And it all happened since I had the MRIs."