Risk management issues related to the use of contrast agents

Radiology. 1990 Jun;175(3):629-31. doi: 10.1148/radiology.175.3.2343108.


The authors reviewed retrospectively 2,100 claims filed over an 11-year period in 12 hospitals in a large metropolitan area covered by a single insurance carrier. One hundred cases (5%) involved radiologists, and 10 of these were related to the use of contrast media. Four of the cases reached financial settlement before trial, three were dropped with no financial settlement before tribunal or trial, one was dropped after a tribunal finding for the defendants, and two were decided in favor of the defendants at trial. Multiple issues were raised by the plaintiffs in all 10 cases. The questions of quality of care and of informed consent were raised in 10 and nine cases, respectively. In the four cases that reached a financial settlement, quality of care was thought to be an important issue in three, whereas informed consent was not a key issue in any. Conversely, adequate informed consent was an important consideration in three of the six cases that were dropped. Screening of patients and documentation of risk factors, adverse events, treatment, and follow-up were also important factors in determining outcome. The authors conclude that legal claims relating to use of contrast agents are unusual, most often involve non-life-threatening outcomes, and in most cases do not result in trial or a financial settlement.

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Radiology / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Management


  • Contrast Media