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Contrast Dye

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Can the level of iodine in the contrast dye used in an angiogram be enough to cause damage to a patient's thyroid gland? What about kidneys?

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Current Postings on This Page (14):

• Ms. Bucks - You are not alone. Reactions to contrast dye occur in some patients, also patients with compromised kidney function may be at risk as well. If you read through the comments in this topic (we've reassigned your post to this one, which is more to the point) you'll see some answers. Here's a useful page from the University of Washington. There are definitely procedures (pre-hydration, diluted contrast, etc.) for reducing any reaction you may be having (read our response from March 26, 2013). There also are different formulations of contrast dye, so it would be good to know what you are reacting to. Here's another article from Dr. Mort Kern in Cath Lab Digest which you might want to send to your cardiologist (it's very technical, so we wouldn't recommend trying to understand it). Since your kidney doctor is quite set against the use of contrast, we would urge you to have him/her talk directly with your cardiologist about this issue. Is there an urgency to having the angioplasty? Are you symptomatic, having unstable angina? Certainly the contrast reaction issue should be dealt with before rushing into a procedure that could cause you discomfort or at worst an adverse event.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 7, 2018

• I had a heart catherazation [catheterization] done using contrast which nearly killed me. I told the doctor that I had a family history of allergic reactions. I have blockages (2) in my chest and my doctor says there's no other dye he can use instead of the contrast. The kidney doctor had to give me a drip to flush my kidneys. It took 3 days before I regrouped physically. I had blurry vision,nauseous,dizzy with a serious upset stomach. The itching nearly drove me crazy. I had to take a benadryl and a pepcid to help me feel better. I am terrified to let them use it again,but I must get these blocks fixed. Please let me know if there's another dye that can be used. I have to see my cardiologist on the 17th. of this month. Please answer me as soon as you can. I am truly in a bad way,but very concerned for my health. The kidney doctor advises me against the contrast. Thanks,Ms.C.F.Bucks (Houston,Texas)P.s. I am also diabetic,and high blood pressure
C.F. Bucks, Houston,Texas, USA, August 7, 2018

• Gringo GTN in Illinois -- Read our responses (below) to earlier posts. Yes, contrast dye used in interventional procedures can cause problems in patients with renal insufficiency (kidney dysfunction) and there are several protocols (hydration, more diluted dye, etc.) that cardiologists, radiologists and vascular surgeons use to minimize this. Just two weeks ago a clinical study was presented at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Sessions that showed the use of rosuvastatin (Crestor) reduced contrast-induced nephropathy in patients undergoing coronary interventions. The study is reported on here: "ACC: Statin Protects Kidneys During Cath." Whether this can be extrapolated to PAD procedures is unknown. Most definitely make sure you discuss your situation with the doctor who will be doing the procedure well in advance. Especially if he/she thinks pre-treatment with Crestor might be beneficial.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 26, 2013

• I will soon have angiogram/angioplasty for PAD in both legs. I have only one kidney functioning at 87%. I am concerned about the dye used in these procedures, possibly damaging my kidney. Should I worry??
Gringo GTN, Yorkville, Illinois, USA, March 26, 2013

• Carol R. in Missouri -- Hard to guess what the cause might be. A catheterization via the armpit is done, but not that common. We're wondering if some type of vascular or nerve damage is causing this. Where is the pain you are feeling. If it's your arm, perhaps a neurologist could run some tests to check on the nerve function.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 28, 2013

• Question: 2004 dye was put into my arteries via both armpits; had constant pain for over 3 yrs. followed; immediately, right thumb and forefinger began cracking, bleeding, swelling and has continued to this date/12/29/12. Have to keep bandaids on fingers to do anything. No skin problems before. What is the cause? Had several arteriograms before via groin areas. No complications there. Doctors and dermatologists unable to heal....
Carol R., retired 71 yr. old, Chillicothe, Missouri, USA, December 28, 2012

• Modern in Los Angeles -- read over our reply from May 23, 2008. Contrast dye still is necessary for interventional procedures such as angioplasty, but there are products and techniques used by interventional cardiologists experienced in dealing with patients who have renal insufficiency. Make sure you discuss these issues with the cardiologist who will be doing the procedure and will be able to instruct the cath lab staff what to do. This is not business as usual, but careful attention to the protocols for your father's type of patient can result in a successful procedure. But make sure your cardiologist is familiar with these techniques. If not, there are many who are.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 13, 2012

• Does anyone know of an angioplasty/stenting procedure that can be done without contrasting dye? my father was a kidney donor and now it appears that he'll need an angioplasty procedure and we're exploring all options to reduce the likelihood of kidney damage to his remaining kidney. thank you so much for your responses and ideas...
Modern Medicine Is A Wonderful Thing, Los Angeles, California, USA, October 11, 2012

• My 70 Year old father underwent PTCA at a hospital in India. He had 2 blocks. One was found during the angiogram before the PTCA. He was an insulin dependent diabetic for 25 years. Post surgery he had lot of blood loss in the groin area and also went into kidney failure and was put on dialysis for for 3-4 days, apparently due to CIN (contrast induced nephropathy) According to the doctor he also suffered Respiratory acidosis meaning acute respiratory failure and was on ventilator for nearly 6 days. Since he could not eat thru the mouth, he was being fed via a nasal tube. His kidneys became normal eventually. On the 9th day after the surgery, they attempted to wean him off the ventilator. During the time, I suspect some procedures weren't performed by an experienced doctor. He died on the 9th day and the cause of his death is stated as respiratory failure, and cardiac arrest. Anyone experienced similar situations in their treatment of loved ones in hospital care?
Andy, Hyderabad, India, February 14, 2011

• Djacoway -- it's known as contrast-dye nephropathy. Patients with reduced renal function and other clinical situations are more prone to kidney problems when contrast media is used during radiographic procedures. Precautions such as hydrating the patient, using more diluted contrast, etc. are SOP in these cases. What the problem was in your mother's case is hard to say.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 23, 2008

• Can use of the contrast dye cause immediate renal failure? My mother had an angioplasty done approx 2003, with a a coronary stent placed. After approx 4 weeks the stent didn't take, (tissue built up) and the procedure was repeated on this time she ended up with total renal failure--what went wrong, the heart, the kidney or the dye? please help!!!
djacoway, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, May 21, 2008

• Since having PCI about a year ago, I also have had a few symptoms of Hypothyroidism, including Bradycardia. I have wondered whether this may have been caused by the contrast dye used during the procedure. Your (Forum Editor) response to the previous post would seem to indicate otherwise. Since reading this post some time ago however, I have read of other persons having similar experiences. Recently I came across this excellent article on Hypothyroidism at I quote from the CAUSES section: "Iodine deficiency or excess: Worldwide Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Excess iodine, as in radiocontrast dyes, amiodarone, health tonics, and seaweed, inhibits iodide organification and thyroid hormone synthesis. Most healthy individuals have a physiologic escape from this effect; however those with abnormal thyroid glands may not. These include patients with autoimmune thyroiditis, surgically treated Graves hyperthyroidism (subtotal thyroidectomy) and prior radioiodine therapy." So maybe there is something in it after all? Cheers.
Keijo Musto, Jamber, April 3, 2008

•Syp -- iodine-containg contrast media is known to be of concern to kidney function -- something that presents difficulty when trying to image renal disease. There are alternative agents that contain less or no iodine -- they may not be opaque enough for the fine detail needed in coronary angiography. We'll call your attention to one European study from 2004, titled "Effect of iodinated contrast media on thyroid function in adults". The study reports thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism) can be caused by iodine in certain patients who have compromised thyroid function, but not hypothyroidism. Can any contrast media experts out there add to this?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 9, 2007, 2012

• Can the level of iodine in the contrast dye used in an angiogram be enough to cause damage to a patient's thyroid gland? We are waiting to hear if my husband's blood work indicates that his thyroid is not working properly. He has many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. He had 2 angiograms within 2 days of each other in July 2005 (one that lasted 5 hours) and had another 2 angiograms in early September. Could all that iodine have damaged his thyroid?
Syp, New Hampshire, USA, January 24, 2007
















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