Extracellular gadolinium-based contrast media: differences in diagnostic efficacy

Eur J Radiol. 2008 May;66(2):168-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2008.02.010. Epub 2008 Mar 26.


Since the introduction of the first gadolinium-based contrast agent (Gd-CA) in 1988 it has become clear that these agents significantly improve the diagnostic efficacy of MRI. Studies on single agents have shown that, in comparison to unenhanced sequences, all agents help to improve the detection and delineation of lesions which can alter diagnosis in up to 40% of patients. Doubling or tripling the standard dose of 0.1 mmol/kg body weight may be beneficial for selected indications (e.g. brain perfusion, equivocal single dose study in MRI for brain metastasis, small vessel MR angiography). A more limited number of studies have compared the various agents. These studies do not show clinically significant differences in diagnostic efficacy between the various extracellular Gd-CA. Agents with higher concentration or protein binding may be relatively better suitable for selected applications (e.g. perfusion MRI). The higher relaxivity agents may be used in somewhat lower doses than the extracellular agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media* / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gadolinium* / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium