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Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), also called Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD), is a potentially life-threatening disease that causes fibrosis of the skin, eyes, joints and internal organs. The first diagnosis of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis occurred in 1997. It has only been seen in patients with pre-existing kidney problems who have been injected with a gadolinium agent during MRIs. Many patients who begin to experience nephrogenic systemic fibrosisdo not realize the seriousness of the disease. It begins to affect the legs, followed by the feet, arms and hands. People suffering from this disease may experience large patches of hardened skin, which can severely restrict free movement.

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis Symptoms

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), also called nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy, has developed in kidney patients who have received a gadolinium injection during an MRI. The disease may develop over a few days or weeks. Those severely affected by the disease may become immobile and unable to fully extend their arms, hands, legs and feet.

Common symptoms of Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis include:

  • Hardening/tightening of the skin
  • Red or dark patches on the skin
  • Burning, itching and swelling
  • Yellow spots on the eyes
  • Deep pain in hip bones or ribs
  • Stiffness in the joints
  • Difficulty straightening the arms, legs, hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Breathing difficulties

There is no cure for this potentially deadly disease. If you have received a gadolinium injection and are suffering from the above symptoms, seek medical attention and legal counsel of a gadolinium lawyer.

Causes of NSF

The first case of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), also referred to as nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NFD), was discovered approximately ten years ago. Because nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a relatively new disease, its exact cause has yet to be determined. However, recent studies have shown a link between gadolinium and the potentially life-threatening disease. Patients who have pre-existing kidney conditions who are administered a gadolinium contrast dye during a MRI or MRA have been reported of developing nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. Healthy patients are able to flush the gadolinium out of their systems after a MRI, but those with kidney problems have difficulty doing this. The gadolinium stays in their bodies for an extended period of time, increasing the risk of developing nephrogenic systemic fibrosis which causes fibrosis of the skin, joints, eyes and internal organs. If you have symptoms of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, which include hardening and tightening of the skin, after receiving a gadolinium injection, contact a gadolinium attorney immediately.

NSF Treatment

Unfortunately, this potentially life threatening disease, which causes fibrosis of the skin, eyes and joints, has no cure. However, there are treatment options that have been shown to slow or arrest the disease.

Oral steroids have worked in some patients. Those with diabetes should use caution as hyperglycemia may occur when taking this medication. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis patients using topical dovonex have reported improvement in the localized disease. After several courses of extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP), three patients saw a softening of plaques. Ultraviolet therapy, cytoxan and thalidomide, have shown little or no improvement in nephrogenic systemic fibrosis patients. Physical therapy and deep massage have helped slow the progression of joint contractures. Pentoxifylline (PFX) has improved the disease in some patients, while those receiving high dose intravenous therapy showed improvement after one cycle of therapy. The last treatment option for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis patients is a kidney transplant.