Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) is a fibrotic disorder occurring in patients with renal dysfunction. Exposure to gadolinium (Gd)-based contrast agents (GBCAs) during renal impairment is associated with development of NSF.
A cross-referenced search of kidney transplantation and radiology databases at a single institution revealed the prevalence of NSF in the transplant population. Clinical records and skin biopsy specimens from 6 patients with kidney transplant given a diagnosis of NSF were reviewed to identify contributing factors.
Between January 1999 and December 2006, NSF was diagnosed in 6 of 705 patients with kidney transplant (0.9%). Renal function was impaired in all patients. Of 33 patients with kidney transplant exposed to GBCAs, 5 (15.2%) developed NSF. Disease onset ranged from 7 days to 11 months after exposure to GBCAs. All 5 patients exposed to GBCAs who developed NSF were also treated with a β-blocker and clinical improvement was observed with discontinuation. The sixth case NSF appeared unrelated to Gd, without a known exposure, and testing of tissue via mass spectrometry revealed no Gd. Symptoms of NSF in this patient disappeared after administration of darbepoetin was switched from subcutaneous to intravenous injection. One patient with NSF who manifested the highest Gd level in tissue died 22 months after disease onset.
The study represents the retrospective experience of only a single center.
NSF can develop in kidney transplant recipients with altered graft function. In these patients, exposure to GBCAs appears associated with development of NSF. The role of β-blockers in the course of the disease merits further investigation.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Key words : β-blockers, chronic kidney disease, collagenous colitis, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, erythropoietin, fibrosis, gadolinium, mass spectrometry, nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, renal transplantation, ulceration
Abbreviations used : ESA, GBCA, Gd, NSF, sc
| Dr High’s work in this general area is supported by a Career Development Award in Medical Dermatology from the Dermatology Foundation.
| Conflicts of interest: None declared.
| Reprints not available from the authors.