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A recently released review article by Drs. Katarina Leyba and Brent Wagner, titled “Gadolinium-based contrast agents: why nephrologists need to be concerned”, doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) for contrast-enhanced MRIs. The authors said that ‘nephrogenic’ systemic fibrosis is a misnomer since GBCAs are the known trigger for the disease; kidney impairment is a risk factor. They note that “the experimental evidence demonstrates that gadolinium-based contrast agents are biologically active – that is, not inert”. Drs. Leyba and Wagner said that “because GBCAs are biologically active in vitro and in vivo, and patients with normal renal function have reported adverse events that overlap those of ‘nephrogenic’ systemic fibrosis (i.e., rash, muscle/tendon ‘tightness, pain…), and because the other risk factors are undetermined”, medical professionals need to be “open to the possibility that ‘nephrogenic’ systemic fibrosis and these gadolinium-based contrast agent-induced symptoms are part of a continuum”. (more…)
The National Center for Health Research (NCHR) recently published a new white paper on its website about gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs). The title of the paper is “The Health Risks of Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents used in MRIs” and the authors are Stephanie Fox-Rawlings, PhD, and Diana Zuckerman, PhD. The paper provides a detailed history of GBCAs from regulation, to gadolinium toxicity and its clinical effects, possible treatments, and environmental exposure.
While there is much that we know about gadolinium and GBCAs, the authors acknowledge that there are still uncertainties, but that “the research thus far suggests that some people with healthy kidney function have been harmed by gadolinium. This conclusion is based on the clear evidence of its accumulation and studies correlating its presence with symptoms”.
The authors pose several major questions concerning GBCAs and potential long-term harm. They also describe the difficulties involved with designing studies to answer those questions. However, they make it clear that new studies with carefully selected populations and study designs are needed.
Hopefully NCHR’s white paper about GBCAs will generate more research and interest in the potentially serious health risks associated with gadolinium retention and its long-term toxic effects.
About NCHR –
NCHR is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that is focused on research that can improve the health of adults and children. They do not accept funding from companies that make medical treatments.
According to its website, NCHR focuses on the programs and policies that they believe can most benefit from the research-based information that they can provide and the attention that they can generate.
You can read the article and learn more about NCHR here –
A new study by Alwasiyah et al. concluded that the current reference range of 0.7 μg/24hr for 24-hour urinary gadolinium is not applicable to patients for at least 30 days following exposure to a gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA). In the study, the authors “calculated an estimated average of 57 days for the urinary gadolinium to creatinine ratio to reach below the current reference range following GBCA exposure and possibly much longer (i.e., 80+ days)”. The article, “Urinary Gadolinium Levels After Contrast-Enhanced MRI in Individuals with Normal Renal Function: a Pilot Study”, was published online December 12, 2018 in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.
This was a prospective, observational pilot study to determine urine gadolinium concentrations over a 30-day period after GBCA administration in patients with normal renal function. The 13 subjects were between 18 and 65 years of age and were reported to have received a gadolinium-based contrast agent for the first time. Prior to contrast administration, spot urine samples were obtained and tested for gadolinium and creatinine. All testing was performed by Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester, MN. Post-MRI 24-hour urine testing was performed on day 3, 10 and 30. Eight subjects received gadobutrol (Gadavist®), four received gadopentetate dimeglumine (Magnevist®), and 1 received gadoxetate disodium (Eovist®) for their MRIs with contrast. The authors reported that all 13 subjects had 24-hour gadolinium levels higher than 0.7 μg/24hr on day 3, day 10, and day 30 after contrast administration. The authors estimated that “urinary gadolinium levels will often remain above the current reference range for >50 days”. (more…)
Study Reports Gadolinium Clearance Times for 135 Contrast MRI Cases including Agent Administered for 63 Unconfounded Cases
On December 5, 2018, Hubbs Grimm and Sharon Williams, coauthors of GadoliniumToxicity.com, released their fifth research paper on gadolinium retention from Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents (GBCAs) administered for contrast-enhanced MRIs. The paper is titled Gadolinium Clearance Times for 135 Contrast MRI Cases and includes the contrast agents for the unconfounded cases.
Drawing on the contrast MRI history and 24-hour gadolinium urine testing results that have been received from members of the MRI-Gadolinium-Toxicity Support Group, the study reports retrospectively on 135 cases with 218 urine test results, including 63 unconfounded cases with 81 test results. The participants all had normal kidney function and report having symptoms of gadolinium toxicity. The results reported are dramatic and involve all linear and macrocyclic GBCAs currently in use in the United States.
About the Gadolinium Clearance Time Report
In addition to reporting on additional cases received since our previous paper in 2017, we now report the contrast agents received with each unconfounded case. Analysis of the these cases produced trend lines over time that indicate typical gadolinium found in 24-hour urine testing for each of the agents including Dotarem, Gadavist, Magnevist, MultiHance, Omniscan, OptiMARK, and ProHance. The graphs and tables provide helpful information for both patients and medical practitioners trying to understand their test results. The analysis of clearance times for each agent is presented on a separate page.
The results show that all agents, both linear and macrocyclic, do not clear from the body in a few days as most patients are told. None of the test results in the first 2.5 months following a contrast-enhanced MRI was within the reference range used by Mayo Clinic Laboratories. It should be noted that the contrast agent and test result information presented is from people who believe they are suffering symptoms of gadolinium toxicity since their contrast-enhanced MRI. It is not known whether the clearance times presented would also apply to individuals who are not symptomatic.
The complete set of test results, without any data that would identify patients, is available to other researchers upon request.
With the evidence provided that clearance times are much longer for all of the agents than expected by medical practitioners, the authors present five recommendations for needed actions by medical professionals, other researchers, government agencies, and contrast agent manufacturers.
We want to thank members of the MRI-Gadolinium-Toxicity Support Group for their willingness to share their test results and other information with us. Our papers would not be possible without their continued support.
We urge patients, clinicians, and researchers to read the entire report and share as appropriate with your families, caregivers, and colleagues.
Hubbs Grimm and Sharon Williams