• over 1 year ago

    RE: Side effects?

    Hi. I have multiple neurological conditions and have had numerous MRIs. I'm 68 and had Polio in 1954, and have been on Disability since 1999. In fact, I saw my neurologist yesterday and she prescribed two MRIs for next week. It's very interesting that you mention side-effects, because that is something I have experienced. I did have complications once while in the hospital. I was brought downstairs at 3 am and wasn't very aware of what was going on. The radiologist who performed the MRI (I'm not sure if it was for a CAT scan or MRI) asked me if I was allergic to contrast dye. I said I didn't know. At that point the radiologist should NOT have used contrast dye, and only proceeded with the tests that didn't require contrast - per hospital protocol. Or, if it was absolutely necessary to use dye, I was supposed to be closely monitored for any signs of allergic reactions.

    So, I was given contrast dye, and my arm where I got the injection started to swell like a balloon, an obvious sign that I was allergic to the dye. He continued with the MRIs (or CAT scan) with contrast dye anyway, which was extremely dangerous. By the time I was returned to my room I was in anaphylaxis shock, by then my lips and tongue were swelling, and I had trouble breathing. Fortunately, a nurse noticed what was happening and gave me a shot of adrenaline. The swelling went down immediately. And I was okay.

    What I learned is that the contrast dye is made from shellfish. I knew I was allergic to shellfish, and when the radiologist asked me if I was allergic to contrast dye and I didn't know, he was supposed to ask if I was allergic to shellfish, but he didn't. As for you, I would ask my neurologist and radiologist about any side-effects and to make sure that if you did, they could treat it immediately. I'm not trying to scare you, chances are you'll be fine. I've had many other scans using different contrast dye without any problems.

    The other thing you should know is that the MRI is a huge machine. The older ones were closed, and you're placed inside a tunnel like opening, which scares many people. The newer MRIs are open, and you can look around without feeling trapped like a closed MRI.

    I don't know if you've already had the MRIs. I hope everything goes well, and that your neurologist is able to determine what's causing your headaches. I'd be glad to answer any other questions you may have. I'm not a doctor, but I am a patient with 64 years of experience. Good luck. And don't hesitate to ask me anything.
      • over 1 year ago
        : I'm sorry you had such an awful experience. From your story I can tell that you had a CAT scan as only CT contrast is made from an iodine base. Iodine is also found in shell fish. I'm glad you had a chance to try an open MRI. Unfortunately they're still not as common among hospitals but are starting to become more popular. The MRI contrast is made of a magnetic medium called gadolinium. This is usually used to get a better picture of your vessels.