Adverse reactions to intravenous iodinated contrast media: a primer for radiologists

Emerg Radiol. 2006 Jul;12(5):210-5. doi: 10.1007/s10140-006-0488-6. Epub 2006 May 11.


Adverse reactions to intravenous iodinated contrast media may be classified as general and organ-specific, such as contrast-induced nephrotoxicity. General adverse reactions may be subclassified into acute and delayed types. Acute general adverse reactions can range from transient minor reactions to life-threatening severe reactions. Non-ionic contrast media have lower risk of mild and moderate adverse reactions. However, the risk of fatal reactions is similar for ionic and non-ionic contrast media. Adequate preprocedure evaluation should be performed to identify predisposing risk factors. Prompt recognition and treatment of acute adverse reactions is crucial. Risk of contrast induced nephrotoxicity can be reduced by use of non-ionic contrast media, less volume of contrast, and adequate hydration. The radiologist can play a pivotal role by being aware of predisposing factors, clinical presentation, and management of adverse reactions to contrast media.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis, Lactic / chemically induced
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Iodine Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Diseases / prevention & control
  • Metformin / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors


  • Contrast Media
  • Iodine Compounds
  • Metformin