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MRI: Is gadolinium safe for people with kidney problems?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gadolinium/AN01637
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus internist
Carl F. Anderson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Carl F. Anderson, M.D.Carl Anderson, M.D.
Dr. Carl Anderson brings years of medical editing experience at Mayo Clinic to his role in helping guide health information editorial development.
He's an emeritus member of the Mayo Clinic staff. The Winterset, Iowa, native joined the Mayo Clinic staff in 1967 and is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology. He practiced clinical nephrology and internal medicine, with a special interest in kidney failure, renal transplantation, nutrition and medical publishing.
"The Web gives consumers vast health-related information to use both in planning healthy lifestyles and in answering specific medical questions," he says. "Reliability and applicability remain the Achilles' heel of website health information. I believe I can help with both reliability and applicability, for I have extensive clinical experience with questions and problems in internal medicine, nephrology and nutrition."
Dr. Anderson was in charge of Mayo's Nutrition Clinic, is an emeritus professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, was an editor for Mayo Clinic Proceedings and was head of the Scientific Publications.
Tests and diagnosis (1)
- MRI: Is gadolinium safe for people with kidney problems?
Treatments and drugs (2)
- Kidney donation: Are there long-term risks?
- Kidney dialysis: When is it time to stop?
Lifestyle and home remedies (1)
- Renal diet for vegetarians: Which protein sources are best?
MRI: Is gadolinium safe for people with kidney problems?
I'm scheduled for an MRI and I have kidney problems. Will I be OK having an MRI?
from Carl F. Anderson, M.D.
It depends on the type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan you're scheduled to have — an MRI with contrast or an MRI without contrast. Contrast agents, including gadolinium, are used to enhance some MRI scans. Contrast agents are injected into a vein in your hand or arm. Not all MRIs require a contrast agent.
There are no special concerns for people with kidney problems having an MRI without contrast.
However, there are concerns if people with kidney problems are given a gadolinium-based contrast agent during their MRI — especially if they have severe kidney failure (renal insufficiency).
Gadolinium-containing contrast agents may increase the risk of a rare, but serious, disease called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in people with severe kidney failure. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis triggers thickening of the skin, organs and other tissues. There's no effective treatment for this serious, debilitating disease.
Before you have an MRI, ask your doctor if a gadolinium-based contrast agent will be used. If the answer is yes, tell your doctor about your history of kidney problems. If possible, your doctor may select a different imaging test. In cases where an MRI with gadolinium is necessary despite the potential risks, your doctor may use the lowest possible dose of the form of gadolinium that has been associated with the fewest complications as well as consider hemodialysis immediately after the MRI with gadolinium.Next question
Kidney donation: Are there long-term risks?
- Miskulin D, et al. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis/nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy in advanced renal failure. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 17, 2011.
- Anderson CF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 21, 2011.