Allergic-like Hypersensitivity Reactions to Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents: An 8-year Cohort Study of 154 539 Patients

Radiology. 2022 May;303(2):329-336. doi: 10.1148/radiol.210545. Epub 2022 Feb 22.


Background With the widespread use of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs), the incidence of allergic-like hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) to GBCAs is increasing. Research on the incidence and risk factors for HSRs to GBCAs is needed for their safe use. Purpose To determine the incidence of acute and delayed reactions to GBCAs and to discuss the risk factors and strategies for the prevention of HSRs to GBCAs. Materials and Methods All cases of HSRs to contrast media that occurred at the Seoul National University Hospital from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2020, were assessed. Information including age, sex, GBCA type, onset, and severity of HSRs was retrospectively analyzed. Results Among the 331070 cases of GBCA exposure in 154539 patients, 1304 cases of HSRs (0.4%) were reported. Acute HSRs accounted for 1178 cases (0.4%), while 126 cases (0.04%) were delayed HSRs. While both premedication (odds ratio [OR] = 0.7, P = .041) and changing the type of GBCA (OR = 0.2, P < .001) showed preventative effects in patients with a history of acute HSRs, only premedication (OR = 0.2, P = .016) significantly reduced the incidence of HSRs in patients with a history of delayed reactions. The risk of an HSR to GBCA was higher in those with a history of an HSR to iodinated contrast media (OR = 4.6, P < .001). Conclusion The rate of hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) to gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) was 0.4%. The absence of premedication, repeated exposures to the culprit GBCA, and a history of HSRs to iodinated contrast media and GBCAs were risk factors for HSRs to GBCAs. © RSNA, 2022 Online supplemental material is available for this article. See also the editorial by Kallmes and McDonald in this issue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects
  • Drug Hypersensitivity* / epidemiology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity* / etiology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity* / prevention & control
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Iodine Compounds*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Contrast Media
  • Iodine Compounds
  • Gadolinium