Let’s start with gadolinium – what is it exactly? Gadolinium is an element classed as a rare earth metal used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to heighten the contrast of the image.
Gadolinium had been considered safe until reports indicated that sometimes deposits of the element are left in the body after the procedure. These deposits had been reported to have some toxic adverse side effects in some patients, leading to gadolinium deposition disease (GDD). This disease can occur after a patient has had a series of MRI’s with exposure to gadolinium.
Side Effects of Gadolinium
Not all patients exposed to gadolinium will have side effects. In fact, according to research from the Mayo Clinic, tens of millions of patients have received the contrast enhancer without any recurring health issues. But for those who do, the element can remain in their brain and bones for months or years after exposure, possibly causing pain and other side effects.
Some of the more common side effects include the following:
- Pain on the injection site
- Facial swelling
- Temporary hypertension
- Rapid breathing
- Parasthesia – which is an abnormal sensation in the skin, such as tingling, burning or prickling
A few of the long-term side effects are usually due to an accumulation of gadolinium over time. This may lead to a diagnosis of gadolinium deposition disease and can include the following symptoms:
- Pain and burning sensation in the lower limbs and arms
- Joint pain
- Tightness in the hands and feet
- Brain fog or mental confusion
- Persistent headaches
- Itchy skin
- Loss of hair
- Vision and hearing problems
- Vomiting, breathing issues, nausea and diarrhea
- Renal failure
Certain symptoms need to be evident before diagnosing gadolinium deposition disease. It is suggested that if you have one of the symptoms, it is possible to be a carrier, and if you have at least four, you’re most likely to have GDD.
Brain Fog and Renal Damage
Brain fog and renal damage are two of the most serious symptoms. Brain fog occurs early on after the MRI and is a form of mental confusion and can be an ongoing symptom.
The use of gadolinium doesn’t necessarily cause kidney damage; however, if you are dealing with reduced kidney function, you should let the radiologist know before your MRI. People with kidney issues or kidney failure are predisposed to a condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, where the body isn’t able to eliminate chemical particles and other elements naturally from the body. With compromised function already being an issue, your kidneys might not be able to effectively eliminate the gadolinium, and this could cause renal failure.
Some serious allergic reactions to gadolinium are uncommon but they do occur. It usually takes a few days for those symptoms to manifest themselves. Those symptoms include:
- Swelling of the mouth, face, hands or feet
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Irritation of the eyes
- Hives or itchy skin
- Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
Sometimes a preventive medication can be used if there were previous issues with the contrast solution. If there are no known issues, doctors can’t predict side effects before the MRI when using gadolinium.
Are You Eligible to File a Gadolinium Lawsuit?
People who may be eligible for financial compensation related to gadolinium disease might be unsure as to whether they should file a lawsuit. It can be difficult to assess one’s own symptoms and seek appropriate remedies, leading many victims to suffer in silence.
If you feel you may have the symptoms of gadolinium exposure, an experienced attorney can help you determine your best next steps and find out if you are eligible for a lawsuit. Call us at 419.843.6663 or contact us here to schedule your complimentary consultation.