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Cite this article
Contrast Media: Procedural Capacities and Potential Risks
1 Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and the Division of Cardiology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Rev. Cardiovasc. Med. 2008, 9(S1), 24–34;
Published: 20 January 2008
Contrast media are known to have transient hemodynamic properties that can influence a patient's clinical status, including heart rate variability and blood pressure. These changes have the potential to impact the diagnostic quality of CT scans. Although most patients are able to receive contrast media without significant adverse reactions, events occur in a minority of cases. These reactions range from mild discomfort (injection-associated pain and heat sensation) to more significant cardiac, renal, and hypersensitivity reactions. The incidence of adverse reactions varies with the type of contrast media used, and several randomized trials have elucidated the cardiac and renal differences among agents. Risk factors for contrast-induced acute kidney injury (CIAKI) have been established, with baseline kidney disease amplified by the presence of diabetes constituting the highest-risk patient group. Strategies for preventing CIAKI include antioxidant therapy, hydration regimens, and choice of contrast agents. Enhanced knowledge on the part of physicians and medical personnel regarding the properties and potential side effects of iodinated contrast agents should lead to improved patient safety and efficacy when performing radiologic examinations.