Gadolinium Brain Deposits
As dangerous products lawyers, the attorneys at our firm have seen countless instances where medical products cause harm to patients. In light of recent concerns about the MRI contrast agent gadolinium, we are currently investigating gadolinium injury lawsuits all over the United States.
The FDA has begun an investigation into the possible formation of gadolinium brain deposits after individuals undergo multiple MRIs where this common contrast agent is used. Though no adverse health effects are currently associated with gadolinium brain deposits, gadolinium contrast agents have already been associated with a rare and fatal condition which causes the skin to harden to the point of paralysis and eventual death.
Individuals suffering with the damaging effects of gadolinium contrast agents may be entitled to compensation.
What is Gadolinium?
Gadolinium is a rare-earth metal which is often used as a contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests. AN MRI is an imaging test which uses strong magnets to create a cross-sectional image of the inside of the body. In some cases, patients are injected with or asked to swallow a contrast solution, often containing gadolinium, which allows the outlines of soft tissues in the body to be more clearly defined and easily identified.
In most cases, the kidneys eliminated gadolinium from the body after it is used as a contrast agent for MRIs. However, recent studies have shown that deposits of gadolinium may remain in the brain of animals and people, even if they have normal kidney function. While no adverse health effects are currently associated with gadolinium brain deposits, the FDA suggests that health care professionals limit unnecessary use of gadolinium until their investigation is completed.
FDA Investigates Gadolinium Brain Deposit Risk
On July 27, 2015, the FDA announced the launch of an investigation into the potential formation of gadolinium deposits on the brain after multiple MRIs. The FDA stated, “Recent publications in the medical literature have reported that deposits of GBCAs (gadolinium-based contrast agents) remain in the brains of some patients who undergo four or more contrast MRI scans, long after the last administration.1-21 It is unknown whether these gadolinium deposits are harmful or can lead to adverse health effects.”
The FDA’s investigation was launched in response to two recent studies documenting the presence of gadolinium deposits in the brains of individuals who have undergone multiple MRIs. The first study, published in March in the journal Radiology, was conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic. This team examined brain tissue in 23 cadavers—bodies which had been donated to science. 13 of these subjects had undergone at least 4 MRIs using gadolinium since 2000, and 10 had not. Each of the subjects who had been exposed to gadolinium multiple times showed traces of the contrast agent in their brain tissue, and levels of gadolinium in these brains corresponded to the number of MRIs the patients had undergone. In a press release, study author Dr. Laurence Eckel said, “Given that these agents are administered millions of times every year, this is an important discovery.”
In June, the journal Investigative Radiology published a study by European researchers who researched the effects of two different contrast agents containing gadolinium on laboratory rats. Some of the rats were found to have high levels of gadolinium in their brains as well as MRI abnormalities believed to be linked to the contrast agent.
Other Concerns about Gadolinium
The possible formation of gadolinium brain deposits is the subject of new investigations, but this contrast agent has also been associated with other serious health threats, including a condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). NSF is a result of impaired kidney function which may be a reaction to gadolinium contrast agents. NSF is a fatal and painful condition which caused the skin to thicken and harden until the patient is unable to move. In 2007, the FDA restricted use of gadolinium contrast agents as a result of concerns about NSF, and went on to ban some specific contrast agents which seemed to heighten the risk of NSF.
Gadolinium Injury Lawsuits
If you or someone you love has undergone one or more MRI imaging scans where gadolinium was used as a contrast agent and may have caused adverse health effects, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our medical product liability lawyers today to learn more in a free legal consultation.