My first urine test for Gadolinium was not done until a full two years after my last dose of contrast. Part of the delay was because I did not know about the test until almost 18 months had gone by.
I wanted my first test to be performed by Mayo Clinic Labs; however, I had difficulty making that happen. The lab affiliated with the medical clinic where most of my doctors are located told me that they could not do any testing for heavy metals or send specimens out to another lab for the testing. But I finally found a way around that problem.
The lab at our local hospital regularly sends specimens to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. All they required was an order from my doctor for a 24-hour urine test for Gadolinium. When I presented the order, the lab personnel gave me all the collection materials I needed. Once I had completed the 24-hour collection, I took it back to the hospital’s lab and they prepared the specimen that was shipped to Mayo Clinic. The results were sent to the hospital’s lab which then sent them to my primary care doctor.
So if you have any trouble getting the urine test through Mayo, contact the lab at one of your local hospitals. If the lab doesn’t already have a contract with Mayo, it is very easy for them to get one. Even if one hospital doesn’t have a contract with Mayo, it is very likely that another one does. Because most labs have never even heard about the urine test for Gadolinium, you will need to provide them with the Mayo test ID and test name.
Details about the 24-Hour Urine Test can be found here: http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Overview/89301. Note that Mayo does all of its Gadolinium-related testing on Thursday mornings and the specimen will need to be there the day before, if not sooner, in order to have it ready for testing on Thursday of that same week. I did my 24-hour collection on a Sunday/Monday and I took it to the hospital’s lab early on Monday so that it could be sent overnight to Mayo.
You might be wondering what my result was. As I mentioned earlier, my test was performed almost exactly two years after my last contrast MRI. My Gadolinium level was 0.4 mcg/24-hour specimen which is at the top of Mayo’s reference range and not considered to be elevated by Mayo Clinic. But keep in mind, as time goes by, free Gadolinium will not be in circulation and available for excretion in your urine. If you retained Gadolinium, much of it will be deposited in your bones and soft tissues. That’s why provoked urine tests detect higher levels of Gadolinium than unprovoked tests – see Our Research for more detailed information about urine test results.
Since I have never done chelation therapy, I have not had a reason to do many urine tests. However, I decided to do another test about 18 months after the one done by Mayo. I wasn’t expecting the results to be any higher and they weren’t. But I wanted to know if my Gadolinium level had remained about the same. You see, in mid-2013, Mayo Clinic changed the description of their Gadolinium-related tests to include a disclaimer of sorts. It now said, “Elevated gadolinium (>0.5 mcg/specimen) observed in a 24-hour urine specimen collected >96 hours after administration of gadolinium-containing contrast media may indicate impaired ability to eliminate gadolinium or continued exposure, suggesting either reduced renal function or exposure to anthropogenic sources”.
An “anthropogenic source” means it is from a man-made source such as the Gadolinium from a Gadolinium-based Contrast Agent. The Gadolinium that has been eliminated in patients’ urine cannot be removed by the sewage treatment process and it has been detected in the water near metropolitan areas. If the 0.4 mcg of Gadolinium that was still in my urine 24-months after my last dose of contrast was supposedly from my drinking water, then I expected my Gadolinium level to be about the same as on my first test.
My second test was done by Genova Diagnostics and I ordered it online through HealthRemedies. My Gd level at 42-months post contrast was 0.238 mcg/24-hour specimen. Anything above 0.019 mcg is considered to be elevated by Genova; however, it is not considered to be elevated by Mayo Clinic. The fact that it had gone down since the Mayo test indicates to me that the 0.4 mcg of Gadolinium was probably not caused by Gadolinium in my drinking water.
You need a doctor’s order to have a test done by Genova Diagnostics. If your doctor doesn’t have an account with Genova, you can find a Wellness or Preventive Medicine doctor in your area that uses Genova by sending a request for information via the Genova website at https://www.gdx.net/patients/practitioner-directory. I received a list of doctors in my area via email.
Or you can get the test through HealthRemedies.com: http://healthremedies.com/comprehensive_urine_elements_profile_genova_diagnostics.html. A doctor affiliated with HealthRemedies sends the order to Genova Diagnostics. Genova will send you what you need to do the collection along with detailed instructions. You might want to read Duke’s post about “Ideas on Getting a Gadolinium Urine Test” for more information. You will receive a copy of the Genova test results via an email from someone at HeathRemedies.com.
Your cost for the tests will vary depending on which lab is used and how it was ordered. My insurance covered the cost of my test performed by Mayo Clinic.
When it comes to Gadolinium urine testing, there are two things to keep in mind. First, evaluation of urine Gadolinium levels is not used when making a diagnosis of NSF. Second, even with elevated urine levels of Gadolinium years after their last exposure, patients with normal kidney function are not given a Gadolinium-related diagnosis. So don’t have a urine test thinking it will help you get a diagnosis. Instead, I recommend having a urine test in order to provide proof that you retained Gadolinium. Remember, if it has been a long time since your last dose of contrast, your Gadolinium level may not be elevated on an unprovoked urine test, but I suggest doing an unprovoked 24-hour urine collection to establish your baseline. You will be able to compare your results to those published in our self-study papers.
At some point someone will “officially” make the connection between our unexplained chronic symptoms after our contrast MRIs and the Gadolinium we retained from the Gadolinium-based Contrast Agent we received. Unfortunately we are not there yet.