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Residual or Retained Gadolinium in Patients with Normal Renal Function – What happens next?

On May 5, 2015, an editorial by Emanuel Kanal, MD, Director of Magnetic Resonance Services and Professor of Radiology and Neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Michael F. Tweedle, PhD, Professor and Stefanie Spielman Chair in Cancer Imaging at The Ohio State University Medical School, was published online ahead of printThe editorial, “Residual or Retained Gadolinium: Practical Implications for Radiologists and Our Patients”, is in the June 2015 issue of Radiology.  It addresses the issue of gadolinium retention in patients with normal renal function, as evidenced by published findings by Kanda et al, Errante et al, Quattrocchi et al, McDonald et al, and Radbruch et al.

In December of 2013, a study by Kanda et al first brought attention to what appeared to be evidence of residual gadolinium within the brain tissues of patients without severe renal disease.  The evidence of gadolinium in the brain started with reports of abnormal signals in the globus pallidus and the dentate nuclei on unenhanced T1-weighted MR images after repeated prior administration of certain gadolinium-based contrast agents or GBCAs.  Other studies found measureable concentrations of gadolinium in normal brain tissues from patients with normal renal (kidney) function.  In their editorial, Kanal and Tweedle said, “These provocative findings cause us to reconsider what we know and what we need to learn to better care for our patients”.

The authors said, “We now have clear evidence that the administration of various GBCAs results in notably varied levels of accumulation of residual gadolinium in the brain and bones of patients, even those with normal renal function.  What we still do not know is the clinical significance, if any, of this observation.” (more…)

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