About Gadolinium Deposition Disease

Gadolinium element is used in making of Gadolinium based contrast agents (GBCAs) which are used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). Medical professionals have used GBCAs since 1988 for between 33-50% of all exams and was considered to be safe. Now, reports indicate that the body retains the chemical in the body and in some cases have adverse side effects. This side effect is Gadolinium Deposition Disease.  

Healthcare providers forget that the contrast dye is not always necessary. These medical professionals think that this chemical agent is harmless, however for many, it is not.

Dangers of Gadolinium Deposition Disease

Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD) is when those with normal or near normal renal function develop persistent symptoms that arise within two months after the administration of GBCAs. Dr. Richard Semelka and his co-authors proposed the name in his paper Gadolinium in Humans: A Family of Disorders. Symptoms of the disease are similar to the previously noted side effect of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). 

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent headache
  • Bone and joint pain
  • “Brain fog”
  • Thickening of soft tissue
  • Skin that appears spongy or rubbery
  • Painful tendons and ligaments
  • Tightness in hands and feet
  • Burning, cutting or pins and needles pain in arms, legs and torso

Effects of Gadolinium Retention

The FDA conducted a review of the AERS database along with additional literature and found many reports of GDD. Many of which happened within hours to days after receiving a GBCA. The immediate symptoms listed are:

  • Pain and burning sensation at origin site
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Central nervous system problems
  • Skin and musculoskeletal complaints

Many end up bedridden or in wheelchairs due to their loss of mobility and pain. It doesn’t matter a patient’s health beforehand. Top level athletes or young parents have been unable to work again after GDD. Treatments are costly, and there is not a cure.

Types of Gadolinium Toxicity Testing

There are three main avenues for those suspecting gadolinium toxicity testing to confirm their body is retaining the deadly MRI contrast dye. These are urine, blood, and dermal tests.

Urine Testing

Urine testing is the first step to a gadolinium toxicity diagnosis. It may not be definitive, however.  High levels of gadolinium only show proof of retaining the chemical agent. Also, having a lower level of the chemical does not mean there weren’t high levels previously. Patients can take the test for differing lengths of time, but a 24-hour collection sample provides the most consistent results. It also reduces the chance of variables.

A doctor may request the 24-hour urine test through testing agencies like Quest Diagnostics or Lab Corp. The test is around $100. There are online options for testing for toxic metals if a medical professional will not order the test.

This is the least-invasive, and simplest way to determine if there are elevated levels of gadolinium.

Blood Testing

Blood test for gadolinium toxicity is another option. However, the plasma half-life of Gadolinium is approximately 90 minutes.  The Mayo Clinic states that elevated gadolinium more than four days after GBCA administration is not typical of most patients with normal renal function.  Blood tests often report undetectable levels when urine tests indicate elevated levels of Gadolinium.

Biopsy Testing

Dermal biopsies were a common way to diagnosis gadolinium toxicity in patients with neural systemic fibrosis (NSF). NSF is not the same as GDD, however, there are similarities since both illnesses involve the chemical’s retention. Dermatopathology labs will test any skin changes for gadolinium toxicity. Insurance may not cover this test, or labs may not offer it independently either. A researcher willing to test tissue specimens for evidence of gadolinium would need to complete it.

Free Case Evaluation

A gadolinium lawsuit may be an option for patients suffering from gadolinium retention and related complications. Gadolinium, used in dyes to increase the clarity of MRI and MRA scans, can create chemical element retention in the body, Therefore, this increases the risk of gadolinium deposition disease and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. These conditions are accompanied with symptoms that include severe physical pain and cognitive difficulties. Affected patients and their loved ones may be able to file a lawsuit and recover damages.

For more information, contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm. We offer free, confidential, no obligation consultations. We have over 20 years experience helping consumers injured by unsafe products manufactured by large companies.

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