MRI Contrast Dye Allergic Reaction Wrongful Death Lawsuit Ends in $2M Settlement

An estimated one out of every 250 patients who receive a gadolinium MRI contrast dye injection suffers hypersensitivity reactions, according to a recent study.

A physician’s group in Iowa has agreed to pay $2 million to resolve a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a woman who died after receiving a gadolinium MRI contrast dye injection.

The original complaint was filed in late 2018, indicating that Katherine Decker suffered an anaphylactic reaction after she was injected with Gadovist, a Bayer HealthCare gadolinium-based contrast dye used to enhance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results. She suffered immediate brain injuries, and was pronounced dead less than an hour after her diagnosis.

The family claimed doctors at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics failed to respond appropriately to Decker’s allergic reaction to the gadolinium contrast dye. The family also indicated they were never properly warned about the potential risks of Gadolinium reactions.

Last week, the Iowa State Appeal Board approved a $2 million settlement agreement between Decker’s daughters, and University of Iowa Physicians, according to a report by The Gazette.

Gadolinium Contrast Dye Risks

Although MRI examinations with gadolinium are very common, a 2022 study by Korean researchers determined that about one out of every 250 patients who receives a the contrast agents may suffer a hypersensitivity reaction, usually acute.

According to their findings, about 0.4% of exposures result in hypersensitivity reactions; about four times higher than the rate of such reactions among patients injected with iodine-based contrast agents.

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In December 2017, a year before Decker’s injection, the FDA issued a drug safety communication for certain types of contrast agents, providing new information about the risk of gadolinium retention and potential side effects. As a result, manufacturers were required to provide new warnings and information in a Medication Guide, which all patients receiving an MRI contrast dye will be asked to read.

The FDA also recommended that health care professionals consider the fact that the body retains gadolinium when deciding whether to give it to patients that may be at higher risk of health problems. These include women who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant, patients with kidney problems, children, and patients when inflammatory conditions. The recommendations also suggest that repeated use of the contrast agents be minimized where possible, particularly when MRIs are scheduled closely together.

Patients are now urged to tell their health care professionals whether they are pregnant or may be pregnant, whether they have kidney problems, and the date of their last MRI with gadolinium, or whether they have had repeated MRI scans that involved the use of gadolinium contrast agents.

In recent years, there have also been growing concerns about the risk of gadolinium deposition disease, involving complaints of pain, brain fog and other symptoms experienced among individuals without kidney impairment, who have been found with an accumulation of the metal remaining in their body after an MRI exam.


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