Ionic versus nonionic contrast use

Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology
H O Stolberg, B L McClennan


It has taken many years of research, development and intense scientific investigation to produce intravascular contrast media. Research on relations between chemical structure, animal toxicity, and water-solubility has produced a number of highly water-soluble, iodinated compounds for use in diagnostic radiology as intravascular contrast agents. The currently used intravascular agents may be classified into four groups according to their chemical structure: 1. Ionic monomers 2. Ionic monoacid dimers 3. Nonionic monomers 4. Nonionic dimers It is the objective of this publication to review the history and development of intravascular contrast media as well as their properties, general effects and clinical use. The four types of contrast media differ significantly in their chemical structure and physico-chemical properties, and these differences determine their osmotoxicity, chemotoxicity, and ion toxicity. We analyze the organ specific toxic effects of intravascular contrast media upon the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the renal system. We also review the secondary effects, clinical manifestations, and the incidence of adverse events associated with different types of contrast. The choice of contrast medi...Continue Reading


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