Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a rare disease that occurs mainly in people with advanced acute kidney failure or those who are receiving dialysis. The disease causes extensive patches of thickened and hardened skin. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis can also affect internal organs, such as the heart, kidneys and lungs, and it can cause a disabling shortening of muscles and tendons in the joints (joint contracture).

For some people with advanced kidney disease, being exposed to gadolinium-containing contrast agents during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been identified as a trigger for development of this disease. Recognition of this link has dramatically reduced the incidence of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.

Jun. 17, 2013