Gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: retrospective study of a renal replacement therapy cohort

Radiology. 2007 Oct;245(1):168-75. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2451070353. Epub 2007 Aug 17.


Purpose: To retrospectively compare the frequency of administration and cumulative dose of gadolinium-based contrast agent in dialysis-dependent patients who did and those who did not develop nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.

Materials and methods: The ethics committees granted exempt status for this study and also waived the need for informed consent. A retrospective analysis was performed of all adult patients undergoing dialysis in the west of Scotland between January 1, 2000, and July 1, 2006. Diagnoses of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, episodes of gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and cumulative doses of gadolinium-based contrast agent were recorded. Outcomes were analyzed by means of parametric and nonparametric testing.

Results: Fourteen of 1826 patients had a diagnosis of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. Mortality was similar for affected and nonaffected patients. Thirteen (93%) of 14 patients with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis had undergone gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging compared with 408 (22.5%) of 1812 nonaffected patients (P<.001). Patients with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis received a higher median cumulative dose of gadodiamide (0.39 vs 0.23 mmol per kilogram of body weight, P=.008) and underwent more gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging than their nonaffected gadolinium-exposed counterparts.

Conclusion: The data support a positive association between gadolinium-based contrast agent administration and development of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in the established renal failure population; in addition, there is a positive association between cumulative dose of gadodiamide used and dosing events.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency / complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Diseases / chemically induced*


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium