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Are MRIs safe for people with iodine allergies?

Radiology patients with iodine allergies are categorized as higher risk for complications from contrast materials used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to perform diagnostic imaging procedures. Contrast agents are used to enhance imaging of the body’s internal process by producing irradiation around organs, blood vessels, and tissues just prior to MRI and other radiographic diagnostic testing. Contrast materials can be taken orally, rectally, or by intra-arterial injection.

Contrast materials having a chemical structure that includes trace minerals such as iodine, offer a naturally occurring solution. The use of iodine contrast chemical agents in inter-arterial injection of arteries, disks, cavities, and spine promotes optimal imaging.

Patients with seafood allergies should report any known adverse reaction to iodine prior to procedure. Cancer or DNA altering damage that might otherwise arise in response to a reaction to contrast materials can be avoided with proper radiology procedure.

About Iodine-based Contrast Agents

Iodine-based contrast media are classified as having ionic or non-ionic properties, each having a differing degree of solubility. Non-ionic agents tend to have fewer side-effects. Bother classes contain Monomer and Dimer type drugs.

Commonly used iodinated contrast agents:
  • DIatrizoate (Hypaque 5) 300 mgl/ml
  • Metrizoate (Isopaque 370) 370 mgl/ml
  • Ioxaglate (Hexabrix) 320 mgl/ml
Commonly used non-iodinated contrast agents (Monomer and Dimer):
  • Iopamidol (Isovue 370) 370 mgl/ml
  • Iohexol (Omnipaque 350) 350 mgl/ml
  • Ioxilan (Oxilan 350) 350 mgl/ml
  • Ippromide (Ultravist 370) 370 mgl/ml
  • Iodixanol (Visipaque 320) 320 mgl/ml

Are MRIs safe?

MRI is normally said to pose lower risk than CT scans or X-ray exams. While it is generally thought that contrast materials are safe drugs, adverse reactions are possible if a patient is predisposed to iodine allergies. Symptoms to adverse reactions to contrast materials range from mild to severe, yet severe reactions are less common. Radiology practitioners are equipped to manage side-effects in process, reducing a significant proportion of contrast material risk.

The presence of a seafood allergy places a patient at higher risk. Adverse reactions may be three times higher than in other patients. Patients reporting iodine or seafood allergy should be reviewed for a premedication regime. A seafood allergy may be distinguished from other causes or adverse intolerance to an iodine contrast agent. Topical reactions may not be a contraindication for administration of IV contrast material.

MRI side effects

Common patient side-effects to iodine-based contrast agents used in MRI procedure include:

Mild side-effects
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • skin itching
  • arterial flushing of skin
  • mild hives or skin rash
Moderate side-effects
  • severe hives or skin rash
  • wheezing during movement
  • abnormal heart rate
  • alteration in blood pressure (high or low)
  • shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties
Severe side-effects
  • breathing difficulties
  • cardiac arrest
  • swelling in the throat or body cavities
  • convulsions
  • extreme low blood pressure
A small percentage of MRI patients may develop skin rash occurring hours or as late as days post an imaging exam using iodine-based contrast agents. Although delayed reactions are typically mild, skin rashes may be more severe and require prescription medication for a period after the testing.

Exposed to Iodine-based Contrast Agents During an MRI Exam?

If you have been exposed to iodine-based contrast agents during an MRI or other radiology exam that have resulted in adverse symptoms or complications as a result of such a procedure a liability lawyer can help. Medical malpractice is a serious tortious grievance. The potential for long-term risk a patient’s health for improper treatment during radiology testing is high. Patients experiencing complications from iodine-based contrast materials exposure from a radiology exam have been subject to a detriment that can cause long-term pain and suffering, as well as exceptional financial cost in medical bills, as well as lost time at work.

For more information about filing a medical malpractice against a physician or radiology group, contact an attorney. You and your loved ones have a right to protection from negligence during medical treatment. Seek compensatory damages in a MRI medical malpractice case.

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