Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) are chemical substances that are injected into a patient during an MRI to improve the visibility of blood vessels, organs and other internal body structures. There are several brands of gadolinium-based contrast agents on the market: Ablavar, Dotarem, Magnevist, MultiHance, Omniscan, OptiMARK, and ProHance.
How GBCAs are used
Gadolinium is injected into the patient and travels through the blood vessels, passes through the kidneys, and is eliminated by the body through urine. The presence of GBCAs in the blood vessels during an MRI helps healthcare professionals see tumors and lesions in tissues, blood vessels, and organs due to its paramagnetic properties.
Patient injuries after GBCA use
Gadolinium-based contrast agent use places some patients at risk for serious injury. A syndrome called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) has been identified as a debilitating condition observed in patients with renal failure. NSF can affect skin causing thickening and darkening of large areas of skin and can also affect internal organs including the heart, kidneys and lungs. It can cause a shortening of muscles and tendons causing muscle weakness, severe pain, limited mobility, reduced organ function, and blood clots.
Patient advocacy groups have reported severe disease in patients who received Gadolinium-based contrast agents during MRI procedures. One study indicated gadolinium was retained in the body of numerous patients causing chronic illness and injuries. Symptoms reported include bone/joint pain, head/neck symptoms including headache, vision change and hearing change. More than half of the patients participating in the survey indicated skin changes. This study also highlighted a condition referred to as Gadolinium Storage Condition where patients with normal kidney function were found to have retained gadolinium in their brain tissues and bones well after administration. A step beyond that was termed Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD) used to define patients who developed persistent symptoms long after the use of the contrast agent. The level of injuries associated with GDD range from severe to life-threatening.
Gadolinium-based Contrast Agent Lawsuits
GBCAs can have a severe impact on a patient’s health and quality of life. Numerous people have filed lawsuits against manufacturers of these contrast agents for failing to warn of the risks associated with use. If you or someone you care about received an injection of a gadolinium-based contrast agent during an MRI and suffered a serious injury, contact us. Our product liability attorneys can provide you with a no-obligation, free case evaluation. We have experience litigating personal injury claims against large drug manufacturers and medical device makers. Contact us now.