Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis and Its Impact on Abdominal Imaging1

Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical Center, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, 416 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022, USA.
Radiographics (Impact Factor: 2.6). 10/2009; 29(6):1565-74. DOI: 10.1148/rg.296095517
Source: PubMed


The objective of this article is to review the current knowledge about nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) and how to prevent it. More than 300 cases of NSF in patients with severe chronic renal insufficiency or acute renal failure or in patients undergoing dialysis have been reported in the peer-reviewed literature, with an overwhelming majority occurring within weeks to months after injection of a gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA). Because administration of a high dose of a GBCA is a primary risk factor and because most high-dose magnetic resonance (MR) imaging applications involve abdominal imaging (eg, liver and abdominal MR angiography), NSF cases have been associated with abdominal MR imaging. Additional major risk factors for developing NSF include proinflammatory conditions, failure to perform dialysis promptly after GBCA administration, use of nonionic linear contrast agents, hyperphosphatemia, and younger age. Recent recommendations to use GBCAs with caution in patients with acute renal failure, patients receiving dialysis, or patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate of less than 30 mL/min have resulted in virtually no new NSF cases being reported with onset in 2008 or 2009 in spite of a high level of awareness about this entity. In conclusion, NSF has been virtually eliminated by using caution in administering GBCAs to patients known to have severe or acute renal failure. In these patients, avoid high doses; and for patients undergoing dialysis, schedule MR imaging to occur just before a dialysis session to ensure rapid elimination of gadolinium.

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