UW @ RSNA 2013: Dr. Tom Grist Discusses Controversy In Gadolinium Contrast

Posted on January 2014

In a presentation at RSNA on December 4th, UW Radiology’s Department Chair Dr. Tom Grist explored MRI contrast use in a controversy session, specifically the safety of gadolinium-based contrast in patients with renal failure.

Co-moderators of the session were Martin R. Prince, M.D., Ph.D., of Columbia University, and Jeffrey C. Weinreb, M.D., of Yale University.

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) is a rare but serious condition sometimes associated with gadolinium contrast application, and Dr. Grist noted that radiologists must be aware of renal-compromised status is a patient as a possible contributing factor to NSF.

According to Dr. Weinreb, however, different sources have reported one, three, and six cases of NSF worldwide, so the risk of developing the condition is statistically small.

Dr. Grist noted that a study undertaken by UW Radiology’s Dr. Elizabeth Sadowski found that a combination of factors including a pro-inflammatory event, not just renal failure, were associated with NSF.

Dr. Weinreb underscored that the danger of death from gadolinium used as a contrast agent was about one in one million, or the danger of smoking one and one thirds of a cigarette.

Dr. Grist and his co-moderators hope session attendees came away from their controversy session with a better understanding about management of a patient with renal failure requiring MRI with gadolinium-based contrast agents.

Learn more about contrast in our Contrast Corner