What is Gadolinium?
Gadolinium (Gd) is a silvery-white, malleable and ductile rare-earth metal. Because of the extremely high neutron cross-section of Gadolinium, this element is very effective for use with X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), angiography, and occasionally ultrasound imaging. The chemical medium helps to provide clear and detailed pictures of internal organs that can then be used to “more accurately report on how your body is working and whether there is any disease or abnormality present.”
Gadolinium contrast dyes were approved for use in MRI scans in 1988. It is now the most commonly used chemical medium for MRI’s.
Why is Gadolinium Dangerous?
Gadolinium contrast agents, used to enhance MRI films, can be extremely dangerous.
Over the past several years it has become apparent that Gadolinium contrast dyes can cause two separate diseases: Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD) and Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF).
What is Gadolinium Deposition Disease?
Gadolinium Deposition Disease occurs in individuals with normal or near-normal renal function “who develop persistent symptoms that arise within a few hours to two months after the administration of Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs).” In order to diagnose individuals with the disease, a urine test must be administered that confirms the presence of Gadolinium in the body. This test should be administered 30 or more days after the most recent GBCA was used.
Until recently, a diagnosis for patients with normal to near-normal renal function did not exist, making the disease a relatively new concept. It is unclear how many individuals actually suffer from Gadolinium Deposition Disease.
What are the Symptoms of Gadolinium Deposition Disease?
Symptoms are similar to NSF, but vary in a few notable ways:
- A persistent headache;
- Bone and joint pain;
- “Brain fog;”
- Subcutaneous soft tissue thickening (skin that appears spongy or rubbery, without hardness and redness observed in NSF);
- Tendons and ligaments are painful and have thickened appearance;
- Tightness in the hands and feet; and
- Pain described as burning, cutting, or pins and needles in the arms or legs, and the torso.
If you have been injured as a consequence of Gadolinium dye used in an MRI, please contact our office at 1-888-508-6752 for a free, no-obligation Gadolinium lawsuit consultation.
What is Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF)?
TorHoerman Law is no longer accepting Gadolinium Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) cases.
NSF is a disease also caused by Gadolinium, with the first diagnosis occurring in 1997. Currently, the Center for Disease Control has information about 315 patients with NSF. Sadly, at the present time, there are more questions than there are answers about the disease. There are very few effective treatments for NSF, and there is no cure.
What are the Initial Signs of NSF?
Originally thought to be a skin disorder, the diagnosis was termed Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD). Gradually, the diagnosis produced wider symptoms and it is now considered a systemic disorder referred to as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF). Some of the initial signs of NSF/NSD are:
- Development of tight, rigid skin in areas;
- Scarring of body organs;
- Burning, itching, swelling, hardening and tightening of the skin;
- Red or dark patches on the skin;
- Yellow spots on the whites of eyes;
- Stiffness in joints with trouble moving or straightening the arms, hands, legs or feet;
- Pain deep in the hip bones or ribs; and
- Muscle weakness
Should I Worry about Developing NSF after an MRI or MRA Scan?
NSF is a rare diagnosis. There have been no reports of NSF in patients with normal kidney function or with those with mild-to-moderate kidney insufficiency. However, if you suspect you may have kidney issues, you should be screened prior to receiving one of these imaging agents. Furthermore, the recommended dose should not be exceeded and enough time should elapse to ensure that a dose has been eliminated from the body before the agent is used again.
In May 2006, the Danish Medicines Agency was one of the first groups to report NSF traces. The agency reported 25 cases of NSF occurring in Denmark and Austria alone.
In May 2007, Dr. Melanie Blank, an FDA kidney specialist, issued a report concluding that an “undeniable and strong association” existed between contrast agents containing Gadolinium and NSF.
Gadolinium Contrast Dyes on the Market
- Omniscan by GE Healthcare;
- OptiMARK by Mallinckrodt/Tyco Healthcare;
- Magnevist by Bayer/Schering AG/Berlex;
- ProHance by Bracco Diagnostics; and
- MultiHance by Bracco Diagnostics
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