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Contrast Enhanced Exams

MRI contrast is very safe and widely used internationally.  Patients are screened for any history of allergy, asthma, anaphylaxis or hemolytic anemia.  Pregnant patients are not given contrast at our out patient offices and lactating patients are provided with information about the contrast and its safety.

The contrast does not cause kidney disease and blood tests to check kidney function (BUN and creatinine) are not routinely required.  (In patients with a serum creatinine less than 6 mg/dL and creatinine clearance of greater than 20 ml/minute, the MRI contrast is not considered nephrotoxic.)  If a patient is on dialysis or has severe renal dysfunction and is pending dialysis, dialysis within 24 hours is warranted.

MR contrast is a prescription medication.  It may be prescribed by the referring physician.  The decision as to when its administration is clinically warranted is also made by the radiologist.  Contrast is often given to exclude certain conditions.  When a patient receives contrast, it does not mean that anything must be abnormal.  Some exams may be more diagnostic with contrast.   If you have a question regarding the possible utility of gadolinium based MR contrast for one of your patients, our staff would be happy to discuss this with you and answer any questions that you may have.