Clinical Practice Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Hypersensitivity Reactions to Contrast Media

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2016;26(3):144-55; quiz 2 p following 155. doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0058.


The objective of these guidelines is to ensure efficient and effective clinical practice. The panel of experts who produced this consensus document developed a research protocol based on a review of the literature. The prevalence of allergic reactions to iodinated contrast media (ICM) is estimated to be 1:170 000, that is, 0.05%-0.1% of patients undergoing radiologic studies with ICM (more than 75 million examinations per year worldwide). Hypersensitivity reactions can appear within the first hour after administration (immediate reactions) or from more than 1 hour to several days after administration (nonimmediate or delayed reactions). The risk factors for immediate reactions include poorly controlled bronchial asthma, concomitant medication (eg, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, ß-blockers, and proton-pump inhibitors), rapid administration of the ICM, mastocytosis, autoimmune diseases, and viral infections. The most common symptoms of immediate reactions are erythema and urticaria with or without angioedema, which appear in more than 70% of patients. Maculopapular rash is the most common skin feature of nonimmediate reactions (30%-90%). Skin and in vitro tests should be performed for diagnosis of both immediate and nonimmediate reactions. The ICM to be administered will therefore be chosen depending on the results of these tests, the ICM that induced the reaction (when known), the severity of the reaction, the availability of alternative ICM, and the information available on potential ICM cross-reactivity. Another type of contrast media, gadolinium derivatives, is used used for magnetic resonance imaging. Although rare, IgE-mediated reactions to gadolinium derivatives have been reported.

Keywords: Allergy; Anaphylaxis; Contrast media; Gadolinium; Hypersensitivity; Immediate reactions; Iodinated; Nonimmediate reactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Cross Reactions
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Skin Tests


  • Contrast Media