Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a rare disease that occurs mainly in people with advanced kidney failure with or without dialysis. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis may resemble skin diseases, such as scleroderma and scleromyxedema, with thickening and darkening developing on large areas of the 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 certain gadolinium-containing contrast agents during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other imaging studies has been identified as a trigger for development of this disease. Recognition of this link has dramatically reduced the incidence of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis care at Mayo Clinic