Updated guidelines for intravenous contrast use for CT and MRI

  • Kevin Huynh
  • Arthur H. Baghdanian
  • Armonde A. Baghdanian
  • Derek S. Sun
  • K. Pallav KolliEmail author
  • Ronald J. Zagoria
Hot Topic Review


Intravenous (IV) contrast material is used extensively for CT and MRI scans done in emergency departments (ED). Its use is essential to make many critical diagnoses in ED patients. While adverse reactions can occur, newer research has added to our knowledge of IV contrast media tolerance and safety leading to improved and more liberal guidelines for intravenous contrast use. The updated information described in this review article indicates how intravenous contrast can be used safely in more patients, more expeditiously and with fewer precautions than with prior guidelines. This review article explains the basis for the new recommendations for intravenous contrast material use and describes indicated precautions and preparations to avoid adverse reactions for iodinated agents used for CT and gadolinium agents for MRI.


Contrast material Emergency radiology CT MRI Gadolinium 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© American Society of Emergency Radiology 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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