Gadolinium Used in MRI Increases NSF Risk for Liver and Kidney Patients

Gadolinium based contrast agents used to make MRIs easier to read significantly increases the risk of contracting a potentially fatal skin disease known as NSF or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. NSF is characterized by a thickening of the skin, organs and other tissues that leads to difficulty in movement. The disease has no known cure.
According to Reuters, “The Food and Drug Administration said a staff review found the highest risk of the skin disease, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), was associated with GE Healthcare’s (GE.N) Omniscan, Bayer AG’s (BAYGn.DE) Magnevist and Covidien’s (COV.N) Optimark.”
In 2007, the FDA issued a black box warning for these contrast agents in order to alert physicans treating patients with kidney or liver conditions.
A recent Mayo clinic study found that patients currently receiving hemodialysis treatment were at a 77-fold increased risk for contracting NSF if they received an MRI with the gadolinium contrast agent. Kidney transplant patients were at 69-fold increased risk.
NSF symptoms may include high blood pressure, itching or burning skin, skin discoloration or reddening, hip or bone pain, and muscle weakness.