According to an article by Health Imaging, some of the dyes used for MRIs stay in our bodies long after they are injected. MRIs help doctors see what is going on inside of our bodies in ways that go far beyond what they can do with x-ray imaging.
German researchers studied a particular group of MRI imaging dyes and found that rats’ brains retained three quarters of the gadolinium that was contained in gadodiamide (a linear gadolinium-based dye) during the year after the substance was injected into their bodies.
Gadolinium is a heavy metal. In contrast, when rats were injected with a different gadolinium-based dye, gadoterate, a macrocyclic dye, only trace amounts of gadolinium were retained.
The FDA is aware that gadolinium-based dyes can persist in patients’ bodies long after they are administered. There have not yet been been any adverse health effects linked to gadolinium retention in patients with normal kidney function. However, there could be a risk to individuals whose kidneys have failed.
When a gadolinium dye is injected into the body, the kidneys are the body’s primary means of getting it out of the body through elimination. A small percentage of patients whose kidneys have failed and who were injected with a GBCA in connection with an MRI developed nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). However, a causal relationship between gadolinium retention and NSF has not yet been established.
As a precaution, the FDA has required patients who are to receive a GBCA to be provided with a new patient Medication Guide before they are injected with the dye. The FDA also requires the manufacturers of GBCAs to conduct human and animal studies to further assess the risks associated with this class of MRI imaging dyes.
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