This article highlights the choices and the arguments in the selection of appropriate contrast materials in radiological examinations — nonionic versus ionic contrast material- and aims to assist the physician in decision-making.
Various authors have raised questions concerning the proposed advantages of nonionic contrast material. However, studies in low risk patients have shown more complications with the use of ionic contrast than nonionic contrast materials; this is the important group of patients since in high risk patients nonionics are used almost exclusively.
The important factor that increases the controversy is cost, which is significant since nonionic agents cost 10 to 15 times more than ionic agents in the USA. Thus, cost-benefit considerations are important because price sensitivity and cost may determine fund availability for equipment or materials that also may be necessary or important in improving patient care.
In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as in computed tomography (CT), the use of contrast material has improved diagnostic accuracy and the ability to reveal lesions not otherwise easily detected in brain and spinal cord imaging. These include separating scar from disc, meningitis, meningeal spread of tumour, tumour seeding, small metastases, intracanalicular tumours, separating major mass from oedema, determining bulk tumour size and ability to demonstrate blood vessels so dynamic circulatory changes may be revealed.
Contrast Agent DTPA Meglumine Diatrizoate Nonionic Contrast Material
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