AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


MRI Contrast Agents Accumulate in the Brain

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New clinical and research guidelines urge caution


The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) has provided new guidance in the use of contrast agents during MRI scans. Emerging research suggests gadolinium-based contrast agents, injected in a patient’s veins to brighten tissues in MRI images, accumulate in the brain. More than 300 million doses of such drugs have been administered since their introduction in 1987.

“Small amounts of gadolinium deposit in certain parts of the brain in people who undergo repeated gadolinium-based contrast agent enhanced exams,” said Vikas Gulani, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Urology, and Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Director of Magnetic Resonance Imaging at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “The ISMRM response is a review of the literature and a series of recommendations on what the community ought to do in response to this phenomenon.” Gulani helped craft the new recommendations and served as first author for the review.

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