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While doing research in early 2012, I came across a 2007 article written by J.F.M. Wetzels of The Netherlands that really caused me to pause and think about the problems associated with Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents. The title was “Thorotrast toxicity: the safety of Gadolinium compounds”. Thorotrast was a radiocontrast agent used from 1930 to 1960. It wasn’t until the late 1940’s that the first “Thorotrast-related malignancies” were described in the literature and the problem came to light.
Thorotrast particles had been deposited in cells in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and lymph nodes where they stayed and continually exposed the surrounding tissue to radiation. The problems created by Thorotrast had such a long-latency period that malignancies might not show up for 45 years or more later.
Wetzels described what was happening with Gadolinium and NSF through 2006. He said that because Gadolinium is a toxic, heavy metal, “Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents are all chelates, which must ensure that no free Gadolinium is present in the circulation”. Wetzels closed by saying, “we must keep in mind that toxic effects may occur less frequently, later, and only after repeated exposure in patients with less severe renal dysfunction”. When I read that, I thought of what might be happening to patients with normal renal function. (more…)