Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis Causes and Symptoms

November 12, 2012

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis Causes and Symptoms

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis or NSF is a condition that affects the skin and connective tissues. It is caused by the gadolinium-based contrast agents sometimes used with magnetic resonance imaging, MRI. One type of MRI procedure is known as a magnetic resonance angiography, MRA, which is scan used by doctors to get a closer look at blood vessels in organs such as the brain and kidney. In some cases it can be hard to indentify the blood vessels so a dye, called a contrast agent is used to make them easier to see. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis can be caused by this contrast agent in some people with kidney problems, as the kidneys are unable to filter it from the blood stream. People are now suggesting that it is the fault of the manufacturers of gadolinium-based contrast agents who failed to make doctors and patients fully aware of the risks and possible side effects of using this product. If you or someone you know has been affected by nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, you may want to consider contacting a personal injury attorney.

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis affects the skin in the form of lesions but more dangerously it can also affect the tissues surrounding the organs and other body parts such as the lungs, abdomen and diaphragm. In extreme cases nephrogenic systemic fibrosis can prevent the organs from fully functioning, often causing difficulty in breathing which has been known to lead to death. Another symptom of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is the hardening of skin, which can make mobility difficult causing further injuries from falling over. Some other conditions associated with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis include thrombosis, failed kidney transplant, kidney disease and coagulation issues. Further symptoms of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis are high blood pressure, weakened muscles, yellow spots on the whites of the eyes, hip or rib pain and hardening or swelling of the skin. Skin related symptoms are most common in the extremities and may appear in patches, papules or plaques, which over time may develop a texture similar to orange peel.

There are currently no effective treatments for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, although a number of possibilities are being researched. The best option at the moment is to treat the kidney condition and as this improves the effects of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis often slow and sometimes even reverse. The prognosis of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis can be very varied and often hard to predict. As it is a fairly new condition, there are still many factors that need to be researched in order to gain a better understanding of it. In some cases, patients later experience the skin beginning to soften again, so regain mobility. In other cases symptoms related to the patients breathing become so severe that nephrogenic systemic fibrosis becomes the primary factor leading to the patients wrongful death. There have been five gadolinium-based contrast agents approved by the FDA. If you were exposed to one of them before developing nephrogenic systemic fibrosis you should contact a local attorney who can inform you of the laws regarding gadolinium in your state.

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