• Screening prior to gadolinium based contrast agent administration: A UK survey of guideline implementation and adherence

      Snaith, Beverly; Harris, Martine A.; Clarke, R. (2016-12)
      Contrast agents are used to enhance imaging examinations, however in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) there is an association with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). The risk is small, but elevated in patients with impaired renal function and screening of patients is advised prior to administration. This study examines adherence of UK hospitals to guidance on the use of gadolinium based contrast agents (GBCA) in MRI. This was a prospective study utilising an electronic survey. The sample comprised NHS Trusts in the UK (n = 174). An invitation was sent to all MRI lead radiographers including a link to the survey. 17.6% indicated they had no written protocol for the GBCA administration within radiology. 41.2% check blood test results for all patients undergoing a contrast MRI, whereas 45.6% only check those patients with known renal dysfunction or are high-risk. Comorbidities which categorised patients as high-risk included diabetes, cardiac or vascular disease and age, however the cut off varied from 65 to 75 years old. Six sites indicated point-of-care (POC) creatinine testing would be carried out where bloods were unavailable, a further 12 had considered POC testing and dismissed it as an adjunct to the patient pathway, the most commonly cited reason being the cost. Within the UK there is no consistent approach to renal function assessment prior to GBCA administration despite international guidance. POC testing may have a role to play, but a lack of evaluation in radiology has led to concerns that it may constrain capacity and increase costs.