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Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) with MRI Contrast Material - CHI 1420

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Topic: Tests & Procedures

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about the risk of developing nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) after receiving MRI contrast material.  Feel free to ask the radiology technologist or the nurse to go over any information you do not understand. This information does not replace information given to you by your physician or other members of your child’s health care team.
Why does my child need contrast material during the MRI?

Contrast material makes the body’s internal (inside) structures (organs, bones, intestines, etc) show up better and improves picture quality.

What is NSF?

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis—NSF—is a condition that affects the skin and internal organs such as the liver, lungs and muscles. The body can be seriously disabled due to hardening and thickening of the skin, difficulty bending joints and muscle weakness.

Who is at risk of developing NSF?

Patients with severe renal insufficience or impaired kidney function who are exposed to gadolinium-based contrast agents are at risk of developing NSF. Additional risk factors include::

  • liver disease
  • high-dose erythropoietin therapy
  • dialysis 
  • acute severe illness requiring admission to the intensive care unit
  • coagulation (clotting) abnormalities
  • recent surgery
  • recent infection
  • chronic inflammation
  • less than 2 years of age
  • hypertension
  • diabetes

Is NSF preventable?

At Dayton Children’s we take steps to prevent NSF. Deciding which patients are at risk is essential. For that reason, we will ask questions about your child’s health history when your test is scheduled.  We may ask that your child have blood tests done so we can see how his or her kidneys are working.  Sometimes your doctor will talk to the radiologist (the doctor in radiology) and choose a different test or ask for an MRI without contrast. 

In some cases, using IV contrast is needed even though your child may have a health condition that puts him or her at risk.  Your doctor or the radiologist will discuss the risks and benefits with you.  In this case, your child may need IV fluids before, during and after the test to make sure your child is hydrated (has enough fluids).  The dose of contrast given will not be more than a standard dose by patient weight.  Patients on hemodialysis will need immediate hemodialysis after getting gadolinium-based contrast. 

How can I help prepare my child for an MRI with contrast?

It is very important that you give us complete answers to the medical history questions we ask.  If your doctor orders blood work, please have it done in a timely manner so we have time to get the results for the doctors to look at.  You will also be given instructions about what your child eats before the test and when to arrive for the test.

For further questions about this test, please call Dayton Children’s medical imaging department: 937-641-3888 or 1-800-228-4055.

This handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about NSF, please ask your child’s health care provider.

Additional information and resources are available in the Family Resource Center at Dayton Children's.  The center is open Monday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm; Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm; Saturdays 9:00 am–2:00 pm. The center is closed on Sundays and holidays.  Please call 937-641-3700 for more information.

Copyright The Children's Medical Center of Dayton.  This material is for educational purposes only.  It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children’s.

PDF: Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) Associated with MRI Contrast Material - CHI 1420

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 2007
Corregido: 2009

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 2007
Revised: 2009


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