Radiologists Conceal Heavy Metal Accumulation From MRIs

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Enhanced MRIs use a contrast agent or dye to improve the clarity of the images produced. A recent poll reveals 58% of radiologists avoid informing patients when deposits of toxic contrast agents are discovered
  • The most commonly cited justification for omitting any mention of gadolinium deposits in their radiology report was to avoid provoking “unnecessary patient anxiety” over toxicity
  • Gadolinium, a toxic heavy metal, is the contrast agent of choice in about one-third of cases. To reduce its toxicity, the gadolinium is administered with a chelating agent. Research suggests as much as 25% of the gadolinium injected is not excreted, and deposits are still found in some patients long afterward
  • In a 2016 paper, researchers propose gadolinium deposits in the body should be viewed as a new disease category, “gadolinium deposition disease”
  • Patients at high risk for gadolinium deposits include those requiring multiple lifetime doses, pregnant women, children and patients with inflammatory conditions. Minimize repeated high contrast MRIs when possible, particularly closely spaced MRI studies

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