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9/30/12 6:49 P

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Contrast dye used in diagnostic imaging more likely to damage women's kidneys


Las Vegas -- Women are more likely to experience kidney damage after undergoing a diagnostic procedure that includes injecting dye into their bodies, according to new research presented at the National Kidney Foundation's Spring Clinical Meetings.

Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital found that women were 60%more likely than men to develop the kidney injury known as radiocontrast-induced nephropathy (RCIN).

"These findings suggest that clinicians should proceed carefully when using this procedure in female patients, particularly those with other risk factors," said Dr. Lynda Szczech, MD, MSCE, President of the National Kidney Foundation.

All 1,211 study participants had recently undergone coronary angiography, in which clinicians inject dye around the heart, then take X-rays to visualize the organ and the blood vessels that supply it. Nearly 20% of women developed RCIN after the procedure, versus less than 14% of men. Women were more likely to develop kidney injury following coronary angiography if they had healthy kidneys before the procedure.

The dye may injure the kidneys by causing the blood vessels of the kidney to narrow, and damaging the structures inside the kidney, said study author Dr. Javier Neyra. Why women appear to be more at risk, however, is somewhat of a mystery, he noted.

The study also found that patients were more at risk of RCIN when their doctors injected relatively large amounts of dye, and this finding may help explain why women are more likely to develop the condition, Dr. Neyra explained. Women are often smaller than men, but if they receive the same amount of dye, it's more likely to be too high of a dose in women, therefore putting them at risk of RCIN.

In some cases, RCIN can cause a fatal kidney injury. Patients who survive, however, may be more at risk of subsequent problems. Other risk factors for RCIN include heart disease, anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, and poor underlying kidney function.

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