PA guidance: Kidney failure a risk with iodine dye for x-rays

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The use of iodine dye during x-ray exams puts patients already suffering from impaired kidney function at elevated risk for kidney failure. This complication is known as Contrast-Induced Nephropathy (CIN) and is the third most common cause of hospital-acquired kidney failure in the U.S. and Europe. Such occurances accounts for 10-12 percent of all such cases, according to guidance released by the Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority.

PA-PSRS has received over 70 reports showing the negative effects the iodine dye has on patients’ kidneys when administered. Patients who develop CIN have more complications, a worse prognosis, more serious long-term outcomes and prolonged hospital stays which result in increased medical costs. While less than 2 percent of patients who develop CIN require dialysis, 30 percent of these patients experience chronic kidney problems, according to the agency.

 “The authority does not normally release two advisories at the same time, but given the number of patients who could be affected by CIN we felt it warranted a separate issue,” said Dr. John Clarke, clinical director of PA-PSRS. “Raising awareness of the issue is important for preventing the complication which can alter a person’s life tremendously. Identifying patients who are high-risk through lab tests and other screening procedures is the first important step to prevention.”

The Patient Safety Authority issued a Supplementary Patient Safety Advisory along with its quarterly 2007 March Patient Safety Advisory to raise awareness of the complication which cannot be reversed, but may be prevented. The Supplementary Advisory contains a toolkit with CIN information for facilities to raise awareness of the complication accompanies.

Read the full safety advisory: