MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans are used to detect and diagnose a range of health issues, from blocked blood vessels and soft tissue injuries to cancerous tumors. For decades, physicians have been using Gadolinium contrast agents during these scans to improve image quality, meaning some 300 million Americans have been exposed to metal-based dyes. Until recently, doctors, health regulators and the public at large were unaware of the potential long-term effects of Gadolinium-based contrast agents.
Research points to dangers of gadolinium retention
A handful of studies have shown that gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) are not eliminated by the body as quickly as previously thought. In fact, these metal-based ions can remain in certain parts of the brain in patients who have multiple MRIs. According to a statement by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “these deposits were identified years after the administration of the contrast agent, indicating that the contrast agent was not completely eliminated from the body.”
According to MRI dye manufacturers, up to 98 percent of GBCAs are excreted by the kidneys within 24 hours after injection. However, if kidney function isn’t optimal, gadolinium can accumulate in the tissue and cause a host of problems, ranging from kidney damage and cognitive difficulties to hair loss and respiratory impairments.
GBCAs used in 70 percent of all MRI scans
The American College of Radiology states that gadolinium dye agents are utilized in 70 percent of all MRIs performed in the nation. In light of increased scrutiny over the long-term side effects of gadolinium retention, and new class warnings issued by the FDA concerning gadolinium toxicity in the brain and bodily tissues, consumers are urged to be their own advocates when having an MRI scan. Do the risks of gadolinium lingering in the body for years outweigh the benefits?
For people like Gena Norris, the wife of film star Chuck Norris, they did not. She is suing numerous drug manufacturers in the hopes of raising awareness about gadolinium retention. Gena claims that gadolinium toxicity has left her with cognitive deficits, loss of mobility, chronic pain, kidney damage and difficulty breathing. Years after her gadolinium poisoning, the Norris family has spent millions on stem cell therapies and other innovative treatments to mitigate the damage done to her central nervous system.
Discuss the benefits & risks with your healthcare provider
If your physician orders an MRI, you can help make an informed decision by asking the following questions:
1. Is the MRI with or without a contrast dye agent? If the MRI does not include contrast, there is no risk of gadolinium exposure.
2. Are there are diagnostic scans available? Is the MRI necessary? Another type of imaging scan might provide the answers needed. Thus far, research has shown evidence of gadolinium deposits in patients who received four or more doses (scans) of GBCAs over time.
3. What kind of MRI dye will I be receiving? There are two forms of gadolinium agents: macrocyclic and linear. Evidence suggests that liner gadolinium is more likely to be retained in the body.
Litigation involving Gadolinium toxicity
Showard Law Firm is currently reviewing cases involving gadolinium toxicity and adverse side effects. If you received MRIs with gadolinium dye and believe you have a claim, we invite you to schedule a free case evaluation.
1. American College of Cardiology, FDA Issues Safety Alert For Gadolinium-Based MRI Contrast Agents https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2015/07/27/16/04/fda-issues-safety-alert-for-gadolinium-based-mri-contrast-agents
2. Imaging Technology News, The Debate Over Gadolinium MRI Contrast Toxicity https://www.itnonline.com/article/debate-over-gadolinium-mri-contrast-toxicity