Gadolinium concerns are top of mind as ACR updates contrast guidelines

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has updated its manual on the use of contrast media, emphasizing in press materials the guidelines’ revised take on gadolinium in response to communications over concerns from the FDA and others.

“If the decision is made to use a gadolinium-based contrast agent for an MRI study for an individual patient, multiple factors need to be considered,” ACR points out in a statement issued jointly with the American Society of Neuroradiology.

The factors they name include diagnostic efficacy, adverse reactions, dosing/concentration and “propensity to deposit in more sensitive organs, such as the brain.”

The ACR press materials note that around 30 million patients per year are injected with gadolinium-based contrast agents prior to being scanned with MR.

The FDA’s main concern has been over research showing that some of the medium may stay in the brain, bone and other organs long after the exam—to unknown effect.

“This vital guide for radiologists enhances the safe and effective use of contrast media in daily practice to ensure optimal patient care,” says Jacqueline Bello, MD, chair of ACR’s commission on quality and safety. “The timely inclusion of the ACR and ASNR joint statement addresses questions posed by many radiology professionals about gadolinium-based contrast agents in the previous months.”

James Ellis, MD, chair of ACR’s committee on drugs and contrast media, adds that the manual continues to be available for free as a frequently updated, readily downloadable document on the ACR website.