Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis & Skin Problems

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), originally known as nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NFD), is rare yet serious disease that:

  • Arises and progresses rapidly within a few months, after which its progression stops for a period of time
  • Is incurable and can be fatal in the worst cases
  • Is only known to occur in patients with a history of renal (kidney) impairments, kidney transplant, dialysis or any other condition that impairs the kidneys
  • Is suspected of being associated with exposure to gadolinium MRI contrast agents

An MRI contrast agent or dye is a substance that is injected into patients prior to an MRI scan in order to enhance the quality of the resulting image and, therefore, improve the diagnostic process. As one of the many substances used in such agents, gadolinium is a metallic element that is particularly effective at rendering MRI images.

Four of the seven gadolinium contrast dyes approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been linked to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in patients who have a history of kidney trouble. The brand names of these dyes include Magnevist, Multihance, Omniscan and OptiMARK. It's vital that patients receiving any of these gadolinium MRI agents familiarize themselves with the symptoms of NSF so they know when to seek emergency care. The following is a look at some of the most common skin-related symptoms associated with the condition.

Dry Scaly Skin: Feeling Thick Patches of Skin

One of the first indications of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is the development of patches, masses or lesions on the skin. These masses will feel rough and thick to the touch, and they will be accompanied by increases in pigmentation. While skin lesions will start off dark or red, over time, they resemble an orange peel. In some cases, patients have described the patches as feeling �woody� and looking shiny.

Skin Swelling Hardening & Tightening

As patches and masses begin developing on the skin, the affected area will begin to thicken, harden and become tighter. Additionally, patients may experience a burning sensation, itchiness, severe pain and skin inflammation at the site of the effected area of skin.

Although some of the above symptoms can resemble those of other skin disorders (such as scleroderma and scleromyxedema), nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is unique in that its swelling and lesions can also affect the muscles, tendons and other internal organs. In the worst cases, NSF can severely shorten the muscles and tendons, as well as cause the development of scar tissue on internal organs � all of which will dramatically impair range of motion and mobility.

If you or someone you love has experienced severe skin problems or other complications of NSF, you may wish to speak with a gadolinium attorney. To get legal help, please call toll free (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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