Rofo
DOI: 10.1055/a-1328-3177
Review

Gadolinium-based contrast agents: What we learned from acute adverse events, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis and brain retention

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Tobias Bäuerle
Institute of Radiology, University Medical Center, Erlangen, Germany
,
Marc Saake
Institute of Radiology, University Medical Center, Erlangen, Germany
,
Michael Uder
Institute of Radiology, University Medical Center, Erlangen, Germany
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

Background Radiologists have been administering gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCA) in magnetic resonance imaging for several decades, so that there is abundant experience with these agents regarding allergic-like reactions, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) and gadolinium retention in the brain.

Methods This review is based on a selective literature search and reflects the current state of research on acute adverse effects of GBCA, NSF and brain retention of gadolinium.

Results Due to the frequent use of GBCA, data on adverse effects of these compounds are available in large collectives. Allergic-like reactions occurred rarely, whereas severe acute reactions were very rarely observed. Systemic changes in NSF also occur very rarely, although measures to avoid NSF resulted in a significantly reduced incidence of NSF. Due to gadolinium retention in the body after administration of linear MR contrast agents, only macrocyclic preparations are currently used with few exceptions. Clear clinical correlates of gadolinium retention in the brain could not be identified so far. Although the clinical added value of GBCA is undisputed, individual risks associated with the injection of GBCA should be identified and the use of non-contrast enhanced MR techniques should be considered. Alternative contrast agents such as iron oxide nanoparticles are not clinically approved, but are currently undergoing clinical trials.

Conclusion GBCA have a very good risk profile with a low rate of adverse effects or systemic manifestations such as NSF. Gadolinium retention in the brain can be minimized by the use of macrocyclic GBCA, although clear clinical correlates due to gadolinium retention in the brain following administration of linear GBCA could not be identified yet.

Key Points:

  • Acute adverse effects are predominantly mild/moderate, rarely severe reactions occur.

  • International guidelines resulted in significant reduction of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.

  • Application of macrocyclic contrast agents minimizes gadolinium retention in the brain.

Citation Format

  • Bäuerle T, Saake M, Uder M. Gadolinium-based contrast agents: What we learned from acute adverse events, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis and brain retention. Fortschr Röntgenstr 2020; DOI: 10.1055/a-1328-3177



Publication History

Received: 22 July 2020

Accepted: 24 November 2020

Publication Date:
21 December 2020 (online)

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