Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis / Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy symptoms have been linked to the use of MRI/MRA contrast. agents

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, also known as Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy, is associated with the  formation of excessive scar tissue in the skin and connective tissue of other internal organs.  This results in thick, coarse and hard skin, which make it difficult to move the arms, hands, legs and/or feet.

It can also result in deep pain in the hips and general muscle weakness.  It is not uncommon for those diagnosed with NSF/NFD to require a wheelchair within weeks of the disease onset.  It is a progressive disorder which can ultimately lead to death in some cases.

Early symptoms of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis/Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy could include:

  • Burning, itching, swelling of the skin
  • Development of “thick skin” or “hard skin” which appears shiny
  • Red or dark patches of skin
  • Yellow spots on the whites of the eyes
  • Stiff joints which cause trouble straightening or moving the limbs
  • Deep pain in the hip bones or ribs
  • Generalized muscle weakness.


The most common areas which are affected by nephrogenic systemic fibrosis symptoms include the extremities (arms, legs, hands and feet).  In some cases the trunk is also involved.  The face is almost never affected with the tight and hard skin.

Symptoms of Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy usually begin with areas of thick skin on the legs.  The appearance of skin may start as red or darkened patches or areas.  Over time the surface may begin to feel “woody” and resemble the texture of an orange peel.  It is often associated with symptoms of burning itching or severe pains in the affected areas.

In severe cases, individuals diagnosed with NSF/NFD are unable to walk, unable to extend or move the joints of their arms, hands, legs or feet and complain of muscle weakness.


A diagnosis of Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy/Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis is made by taking a punch biopsy of the skin.  The disorder has been observed in patients undergoing hemodialysis for end stage renal disease (ESRD) as well as for those undergoing peritoneal dialysis.  Neither the underlying cause of kidney disease or the duration appear to be related to the diagnosis of NFD/NSF.  The reported length of time individuals have been on dialysis before a diagnosis is made has ranged from only weeks to months or even years.

NSF/NFD can progress slowly over several weeks, or develop over the course of only a few days.  According to data reviewed so far, approximately 5% of those with the condition have a rapidly progressive course.



In many cases, Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis is fatal, even though it is not the actual cause of death.  It is not uncommon for tightness and contracture around the joints to lead to falls and fractures, and there have been several reported deaths caused by complications.

NSF/NFD could also contribute to death by causing restricted ventilation or airways as a result of fibrosis (or scarring) of internal organs.  Autopsies have revealed internal muscles with significant fibrosis (or scarring) tissue, in addition to the skin tightening/hardening.  Internal organs which are commonly affected include the diagphagm, heart, lungs and kidneys.


Development of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis has been directly linked to an MRI contrast or MRA contrast known as gadolinium.  The injection is used during the tests to allow physicians to identify blood vessels.  For those with kidney problems, kidney failure or impaired renal function, gadolinium side effects could lead to the progressive disorder.


Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis lawsuits were previously reviewed for individuals who have been diagnosed with the disease or suffered symptoms of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis.  New claims are no longer being accepted or investigated by our law firm.