The truth about contrast agents used in CT and MRI

Anatomical and physiological imaging using CT and MRI is a key role in the diagnosis of patients nowadays, although they can be performed without any contrast agent, the use of these agents markedly increases the sensitivity and specificity of lesion detection. Giving an example, the physiological changes in tumor microenvironment and organ perfusion can be analyzed better by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI and CT.

This type of analysis requires an intravenous administration of gadolinium (Gd)-based and iodinated contrast agents. Since their approval in 1988, Gd-based contrast agents have MRI analysis due to the crucial medical information obtained. Over 450 million intravenous GBCA doses have been administered worldwide, with an extremely favorable pharmacologic safety profile.

However, as usual with any medication, side effects could present in the usage of these agents. Nephropathy is associated with iodinated CT contrast agents, especially in patients diagnosticated with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, Gd-based contrast agents are related to Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF).

Therefore, the search for new Gd-based contrast agents with fewer side effects but also that keeps their properties in the MRI analysis is still ongoing. Recently a study assessing the efficacy and safety of a new Gd-based contrast agent for Central Nervous System (CNS) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been launched and it is expected to improve all these obstacles in the imageology diagnosis. For any more information don’t hesitate to contact us.