Exposure to Radiologic Contrast Media and an Increased Risk of Treated End-Stage Renal Disease

Paul Muntner, Josef Coresh, Michael J. Klag, Paul K. Whelton, Thomas V. Perneger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Radiologic contrast media can cause acute renal failure, but whether their repeated use is associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is unknown. Methods: We compared 716 incident case subjects of treated ESRD with 361 control subjects, frequency matched on age, drawn from the general population (age, 20-65 years). Participants were interviewed by telephone regarding their previous exposure (before initiation of dialysis for case subjects and the study interview for control subject) to various imaging procedures. Results: As expected, the case subjects reported having more imaging procedures of the kidneys than did control subjects. Excluding persons who had been subjected to examinations of their kidney from the analysis and adjusting for ultrasound examinations and several possible confounders, persons who had a history of one [odds ratio (OR), 2.0; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0, 4.0], 2 or 3 (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.2,5.9), or 4 or more (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.0, 12.5) radiocontrast examinations were at higher risk of treated ESRD than persons who reported not having had such procedures. Ultrasound examinations and a history of barium enema were not associated with an increased risk of treated ESRD. Conclusion: In the current study, a graded association was present between increasing exposure to radiologic contrast media and higher risk of treated ESRD. Whether exposure to contrast media accelerates progression to ESRD or is merely a noncausal accompaniment to multiple disease processes occurring concurrently cannot be determined from our observational data. However, if these results are confirmed in future prospective studies, they will have important clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-359
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Radiocontrast media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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