Lang SM, Alsaied T, Moore RA, Rattan M, Ryan TD, Taylor MD. Conservative gadolinium administration to patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: decreasing exposure, cost, and time, without change in medical management. The international journal of cardiovascular imaging 2019.
Cardiac MR (CMR) is increasingly used to assess for cardiac involvement in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The frequent use of gadolinium based contrast agents (GBCAs) has been called into question with reports of intracranial gadolinium deposition in patients receiving multiple administrations. We adopted a conservative GBCA administration policy, limiting the frequency of GBCA exposure in patients with previously documented late gadolinium enhancement. The aim of our study was to evaluate the clinical effects of this policy change. Data were retrospectively reviewed on 405 consecutive patients with DMD who underwent CMR evaluation. Patients were grouped into conservative GBCA administration or historical control. CMR reports were evaluated and clinical reports were reviewed to determine actionable changes. Ohio Medicaid reimbursements were used to estimate costs. A total of 187 patients comprised the conservative GBCA group and 218 patients the historical cohort. The conservative GBCA group had lower contrast administration rates (84% vs. 99%, p < 0.0001), shorter scan times (35.2 vs. 39.0 min, p < 0.0001), and lower estimated medical costs ($339 vs. $351/study). There was no change regarding the initial presence of first-time late gadolinium enhancement, and no difference in actionable change. Contrast administration substantially decreased 7 months post-policy change (65%) compared to the initial 7 months (96%, p < 0.0001). In the current era with unclear concern for intracranial gadolinium deposition, thoughtful GBCA administration is warranted in patients anticipated to undergo multiple CMRs. Our updated approach has resulted in fewer patients receiving contrast, shorter scan times, and less medical costs, without appreciable changes to patient management.