Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
It depends on the type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan you're scheduled to have — an MRI with contrast or an MRI without contrast. Contrast agents, including gadolinium (gad-oh-LIN-e-um), are used to enhance some MRI scans. Contrast agents are injected into a vein in your hand or arm. Not all MRIs require a contrast agent.
There are no special concerns for people with kidney problems having an MRI without contrast.
However, there are concerns if people with kidney problems — especially severe kidney failure (renal insufficiency) — are given a gadolinium-based contrast agent during an MRI.
Gadolinium-containing contrast agents may increase the risk of a rare but serious disease called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in people with severe kidney failure. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis triggers thickening of the skin, organs and other tissues. There's no demonstrated effective treatment for this serious, debilitating disease.
Before you have an MRI:
Your doctor may select a different imaging test, if possible. If your doctor still recommends an MRI with gadolinium despite the potential risks, you may be given the lowest possible dose of the form of gadolinium that's been associated with the fewest complications. Your doctor also may recommend hemodialysis — a procedure that filters wastes from your blood via a machine — immediately after the MRI.
Carl F. Anderson, M.D.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization and proceeds from Web advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse any of the third party products and services advertised.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.