Gadodiamide-associated nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: why radiologists should be concerned

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2007 Feb;188(2):586-92. doi: 10.2214/ajr.06.1094.


Objective: Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) is a rare multisystemic fibrosing disorder that principally affects the skin but may affect other organs of patients with renal insufficiency. The purpose of our study was to identify any common risk factors and determine whether i.v. gadodiamide is associated with the development of NSF.

Materials and methods: A retrospective chart review was performed for all 12 patients diagnosed with NSF at our institution between 2000 and 2006 to identify the clinical manifestations, timing, and dose of gadodiamide administration; dialysis records; concurrent medications; comorbid conditions and surgeries; laboratory findings; imaging findings; and clinical outcome. A review of the dialysis and MR records between 2000 and 2006 showed 559 MRI examinations on 168 dialysis patients (including 301 contrast-enhanced examinations).

Results: NSF was diagnosed by clinical findings and tissue diagnosis. All 12 patients had renal insufficiency--eight with dialysis-dependent chronic renal insufficiency and four with acute hepatorenal syndrome. All 12 patients developed skin fibrosis within 2-11 weeks after gadodiamide administration. The odds ratio for development of NSF after gadodiamide exposure was 22.3. No other common event or exposure could be found. Four patients had abnormal scintigraphic bone scans with skin and muscle uptake and lower-extremity MRI finding of edema in the muscles, intermuscular fascia, and skin. Despite the fact that 10 patients were dialyzed within 2 days of gadodiamide administration, this did not prevent the development of NSF.

Conclusion: Development of NSF was strongly associated with gadodiamide administration in the setting of either acute hepatorenal syndrome or dialysis-dependent chronic renal insufficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Gadolinium DTPA*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*


  • gadodiamide
  • Gadolinium DTPA