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Trace amounts of gadolinium may be left behind after MRIs

More than 100 million patients worldwide have had an MRI with contrast done using gadolinium-based agents over the past 25 years. However, there have been concerns over the toxicity of these GBCAs. While the MRIs can help doctors to diagnose diseases of the internal body structures, bones, organs, and soft tissues, the GBCAs can leave behind potentially toxic metal in the patient’s brain. This could be of interest to people in New Jersey who have had an MRI with contrast or have one scheduled.

Gandolium, the agent that is used in contrast dye for MRIs because of the manner in which it reacts to the magnetic field of an MRI, is known to be toxic. The danger to patients come in when the toxic metal crosses the blood-brain barrier. In the past, it was thought that the body would excrete the GBCA; however, some of it might be left behind.

While it was thought that trace amounts left behind wouldn’t have any effect on the patient, it now known that residual gadolinium in the bones and brain can occur. Previously, it was thought that the residual gadolinium would primarily affect patients with renal disease, but now it is known that people with normal renal function can be affected. In 2006, two studies conducted in Europe noted that there was a connection between GBCAs and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in patients who suffer from renal disease. Still, more research is needed to determine the clinical significance of the potential for residual amounts of gadolinium in the brain.

Patients who have had an MRI with contrast should have been scanned for renal disease and kidney dysfunction. If that standard of care prior to the testing wasn’t followed and the patient subsequently suffered harm, consultation with a medical malpractice attorney might be warranted.

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