MRA Contrast Lawyers No Longer Reviewing New Cases

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis / Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy could be caused by side effects of MRA contrast agents.

Side effects of an MRA contrast could cause those with kidney problems or renal disease to develop a painful and disfiguring disorder known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, or Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy.  The progressive disease has no effective treatment options and could lead to dependence on a wheel chair, or even death.

MRA lawsuits were previously reviewed for those who have suffered side effects from contrast agents containing gadolinium, which are often used during magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). New claims are no longer being pursued. This page is provided for informational purposes about cases previously investigated by our lawyers.


MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) is a test to obtained detailed images of blood vessels.  In particular it is used to evaluate the blood vessels in the head, neck, lungs, kidneys and legs, to aid in detection of heart disorders, strokes and vascular diseases.

Gadolinium is a contrast agent which is often injected into the patient’s vein before the exam. The gadolinium is drawn to the magnetic field, which makes it easier to distinguish blood vessels from nearby tissue.

Gadolinium was approved by the FDA for use during MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).  Although gadolinium contrast has not been approved for use with MRA, many physicians administer the contrast dye before the exam.  When used during an MRA, the gadolinium dose is often up to three times higher than the level which is approved for use with an MRI.

>>INFORMATION: Gadolinium Contrast Side Effects

Those with renal disease or impaired kidney function face a risk of developing Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), also known as Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD).  The disorder is associated with the formation of excessive scar tissue in the skin and internal organs. 

NSF/NFD results in thick, coarse and hard skin which can severely restrict movement and often results in the need for a wheelchair.  The disease can also lead to death in some cases.

Symptoms of MRA contrast side effects could include:

  • Progressive thickening of the skin (with or without changes in skin color)
  • Contractures around the joints which impair movement and mobility
  • Swelling, especially of the lower extremities
  • Redness and burning sensations
  • Deep pain in the hips and ribs
  • Generalized muscle weakness


Approximately 5% of those with kidney failure or impaired renal function who receive a gadolinium MRA contrast develop NSF/NFD.  A public health advisory was issued by the FDA in 2006, and a “black box” warning was added in 2007 indicating that those with kidney problems should not receive a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) with gadolinium contrast.

Alternatives to a gadolinium MRA contrast for those with kidney disease is to look at the blood vessels through a conventional angiography.  Although this is the most accurate way to observe the blood vessels, it is an invasive procedure which requires a large tube placed into the blood vessels with iodine contrast dye injected.  Conventional angiography does carry a risk of bleeding, infection, blood vessel spasm, allergic reactions and kidney failure.


The MRA lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are no longer reviewing potential Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis lawsuits for those with kidney problems who developed the disorder as a side effect of a MRA contrast.