Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis & Bone, Joint and Muscle Problems

First documented in 1997, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (originally nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy) is an incurable, progressive skin disease that causes a range of painful, debilitating and unsightly symptoms. To date, researchers have established that the condition only arises in kidney disease patients who likely have been exposed to MRI contrast agents that contain gadolinium. Other direct causes have yet to be identified.

What are MRI Contrast Agents?

MRI contrast agents are dyes that are injected into patients prior to an MRI scan in an effort the make the resulting images significantly clearer and, therefore, dramatically easier to read. Gadolinium, a silvery metallic element, is used in some of these dyes due to the fact that its magnetic properties (when placed in a magnetic field, such as that created by an MRI scan) make it especially effective at delineating the normal cells from the abnormal and malignant growths.

Patients with normal kidney function who receive gadolinium MRI agents are able to effectively flush the gadolinium out of their bodies following the scan. However, in those with impaired kidney function, their kidneys will likely be unable to fully expel the gadolinium contrast agent. If any is left in their body, patients will have a higher risk of developing NSF. The following is a discussion of some of the symptoms of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. It's vital that patients are aware of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis symptoms if they are going to or have already receive a gadolinium contrast dye.

Stiffness in Your Joints & Severe Muscle Weakness

Symptoms of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis first arise on the skin (in the form of tight, hard, itchy, painful patches/lesions). Then, as the disease progresses, it begins to affect the joints and muscles. Stiffness of joints will occur when the disease starts causing scar tissue to develop in the joints, including those located in the arms, hands, legs and feet. In more serious cases, the hip joints and the ribs may be affected by such stiffness, along with deep pain.

At about the same stage, patients will likely experience muscle weakness, as a result of the disease shortening the muscles in the body's extremities. As these issues compound and progress, patients may have serious difficulty fully extending their extremities and, ultimately, they may be unable to walk.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis after being exposed to a gadolinium contrast dye? If so, it may be in your best interest to speak with a Gadolinium attorney about your circumstances. For more information, please call us today at (866) 459-0066.

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Gadolinium Contrast Agents Required to Include New Warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a news release Sept. 9, 2010, requiring that contrast agents containing gadolinium carry a new warning on their labels because it can lead to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). Read More »

First Gadolinium Lawsuit Filed in U.S. Court

An Ohio woman has filed what is believed to be the first gadolinium lawsuit, claiming that the MRI dye Magnevist-made by Bayer-caused her 24-year-old son's death.
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Gadolinium-Based MRI Dyes Get Black Box Warning

The Food and Drug Administration has asked that a black box warning be added to all gadolinium-based MRI dyes to highlight the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, or NSF.
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