Purpose: To retrospectively determine the incidence of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in a large academic medical center after the adoption of restrictive gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA) administration guidelines.
Materials and methods: For this retrospective HIPAA-compliant study, institutional review board approval was obtained and the requirement for informed consent was waived. Restrictive GBCA guidelines were adopted in May 2007. The guidelines (a) require a recent serum creatinine level measurement in any patient who is aged 60 years or older and/or at risk for renal disease, (b) limit the maximal weight-based GBCA dose administered to any patient with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) lower than 60 mL/min/m(2) to 20 mL, and (c) prohibit the administration of any GBCA in patients who have an eGFR lower than 30 mL/min/m(2) and/or are undergoing chronic dialysis treatment (except in emergency situations). The electronic medical records were searched for all contrast material-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging examinations performed during the post-guidelines adoption period between January 2008 and March 2010 and the pre-guidelines adoption and transitional period between January 2002 and December 2007. Separate pathology records were searched for biopsy-confirmed cases of NSF during the same study periods. The incidences of NSF during the pre-guidelines adoption and transitional period and post-guidelines adoption period were compared by using the paired Z test.
Results: A total of 52,954 contrast-enhanced MR examinations were performed during the post-guidelines adoption period. Of these 52,954 examinations, 46,464 (88%) were performed in adult patients with an eGFR of 60 mL/min/m(2) or higher or presumed normal renal function and 6454 (12%) were performed in patients with an eGFR of 30-59 mL/min/m(2). Thirty-six patients with an eGFR lower than 30 mL/min/m(2) underwent contrast-enhanced MR imaging for emergent indications. Review of the pathology records for January 2008 to September 2010 revealed no new cases of NSF resulting from GBCA exposure.
Conclusion: After restrictive guidelines regarding GBCA administration were instituted, no new cases of NSF were identified among 52,954 contrast-enhanced MR examinations, including those performed in patients with an eGFR lower than 60 mL/min/m(2).