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Toxic residue left behind when using contrast agent during MRIs

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2015 | Brain Injuries

As Arizona residents may know, magnetic resonance imaging is commonly used as a diagnostic tool to identify disease and injuries. Gadolinium is frequently used as an agent to enhance the image. However, new research on the use of gadolinium on patients with kidney disease says it may lead to serious consequences.

Gadolinium has been a commonly-used diagnostic agent for over 25 years when used with MRIs. However, two studies conducted in Europe showed that gadolinium, instead of being excreted as previously thought, might be related to incidences of a serious kidney syndrome with a high morbidity potential. As a result, the FDA requested a labeling change and added a warning in 2006. In 2010, labels were required to reflect the potential danger involved with the use of gadolinium in patients with kidney disease. In 2013, another study showed that the toxic gadolinium-based substances might remain in the brain and the body of the patient following an MRI.

A study conducted by University of Pittsburgh scientists states that the evidence clearly demonstrates that residual gadolinium accumulates in the bones and brain of some but not all patients, including those patients who have normal kidney function. The scientists recommend that caution be used when using gadolinium as a contrast medium since long-term effects are unknown at this time.

When a patient has undergone an MRI using gadolinium and it resulted in damage, consulting an attorney may be beneficial. If the physician failed to adhere to warnings concerning its use, then when identifying the cause of any resulting brain damage, the attorney may be able to use this as part of a showing in a subsequent medical malpractice lawsuit that the physician failed to adhere to the appropriate standard of care.