Monday, August 10, 2009

No Injections! Please.

No. The title has nothing to do with me being afraid of needles. I must admit that I used to have a fear of them, but with the tons of blood tests I've had along with dialysis, I've gotten use to them. Now, on to more important matters

A few weeks ago, I went for a CT scan on my lungs. My doc wanted to check if the lung infection I contracted a few months ago had totally cleared up. A CT scan was needed to verify what the chest x-rays had shown, that there was no more infection.

One thing that she made sure to repeat more than once was, “no contrast.” What she meant was to have a plain CT scan and not one where they use a contrast. Just to make things clear, a contrast is a substance that is injected to the patient that enhances the visibility of the internal parts they are examining.

Being the curious person that I am, I had to ask why. Her answer was short and simple, “the contrast hurts the kidneys, especially when kidneys aren't 100% they can really cause damage.”

Knowing that I fall under the 'not 100% kidney' category, I made sure I told the CT scan technician not to use contrast.

I was reminded of this when i happened to bump into this article, saying how research has shown that contrast agents used in imaging tests harm our kidneys.

Medical imaging often uses contrast agents, substances such as iodine and barium that enhance the contrast of structures or fluids within the body.


Exposure to contrast agents can injure the kidneys, but patients are often told that this is only a temporary side effect. Recent research has suggested that such contrast-induced kidney damage may actually be more serious, although no thorough studies have looked into the hypothesis.


Individuals who developed contrast-induced kidney injuries had twice as many long-term negative health effects compared with patients whose kidneys were not damaged. In the absence of contrast-induced kidney injury, there was no difference in the incidence of long-term negative health effects between patients taking iopamidol or iodixanol.
The day after, I retrieved the CT scan results and my doc was happy to see that my lungs were in fact clear of the infection. Another day, another learning experience.

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