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Information: What Is Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) / Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD)

Apr 7, 2008

Keywords: Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) | Side Effects | Information | Help | Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD)

NSF (Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis), also known as NFD (Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy) has been linked to the use of Gadolinium MRI contrast dye in people with pre-existing kidney problems. NSF or NFD first appeared in 1997. Because of it sudden appearance, some researchers speculated that NSF or NFD resulted from exposure to a new type of toxin that people with poor kidney function could not eliminate from their blood stream. Since 2006, research has been able to directly link the use of Gadolinium MRI contrast dye in kidney patients to this serious Gadolinium side effect. The Gadolinium MRI contrast dye side effect attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are currently evaluating Gadolinium MRI Contrast dye injury cases where victims have been afflicted with NSF and NFD.

While it only appears in patients with pre-existing kidney problems, according to The International Center for Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy Research, there is no evidence that NSF/NSD is caused by kidney disease, medications, microorganism or dialysis. But in 2006, NSF/NSD researchers made an intriguing discovery. It was at that time that researchers linked the use of gadolinium based contrast agents used in MRIs with the development of NSF/NSD. Following the 2006 discovery, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned healthcare professionals that gadolinium based agents had been tied to multiple cases of NSF/NSD. Then, in 2007, the FDA went even further and requested that the manufacturers of the five gadolinium based contrast agents used in MRIs include a boxed warning on product labels highlighting the risk they posed to patients with kidney problems.

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) / Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD) Symptoms

Symptoms of NSF/NSD can appear anywhere from a few days to 18 months after a patient has been exposed to a gadolinium based contrast agent. Most patients eventually diagnosed with NSF/NSD are first found to have high blood pressure. That is followed by other symptoms, including:

  • Tightening and swelling of the skin
  • Thickening of the skin around the joints, restricting movement
  • Extremely hard or rough skin has the texture of an orange peel
  • Red or dark patches of skin
  • Burning, itching, and/or sharp pains in affected areas
  • Symmetrical skin lesions
  • Muscle weakness
  • Deep bone pain in the hips and ribs
  • Calcification of soft tissues
  • Yellow plaques near the eyes

NSF/NSD can progress to the point of causing severe stiffness in joints, and it can lead to death. The progression of the disease can be slow, and it can take several years for all of the symptoms associated with NSF/NSD to appear. However, some patients have a form of NSF/NSD that progresses so quickly that they often die of complications brought on by the disease.

Treatment for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) / Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD) Symptoms

There are no consistently successful treatments for NSF/NSD but symptoms can be improved with several methods. Physical therapy, oral steroids and some other drug therapies have shown promise in treating NSF/NSD. Improved kidney function can ease symptoms, and in some NSF/NSD patients this seems to reverse the disease overtime. Some NSF/NSD patients who have received kidney transplants have improved dramatically, but there is no guarantee that all patients will see such results.

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