What are the side effects of iodine x-ray contrast agents?

A major improvement to the diagnostic accuracy of radiography has been the addition of contrast agents, which can be administered in a vein or instilled in a duct or hollow organ. A contrast medium contains relatively dense material of a high atomic number that absorbs more of the x-rays than the surrounding tissues, hence making the stomach, colon, or vessel appear white on the x-ray film. One can then look for structural changes such as polyps, stones, or ulcerations.

Some patients may experience a brief sensation of warmth, nausea, or a metallic taste in the mouth after the contrast medium injection. Other patients may experience itching, hives, or other effects. The technologist or nurse closely monitors all patients for any adverse drug events.

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