Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » MRI experience


10-20-2010, 09:28 AM   #1
Cat-a-Tonic
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MRI experience

I had an MRI this morning. Not so much to look at my intestines, but to look specifically at my liver. When I had a CT scan of my abdomen a few months ago, they found a lesion on my liver and wanted to look more closely at it, which was the reason for the MRI today.

So everything went well except for the contrast IV. I'm not claustrophobic so I had no problem going into the little tunnel thing. But then they did an IV of contrast, and it made me incredibly light-headed. So much so that I had to push the emergency button thing they gave me and have them temporarily stop everything. It was kind of scary, to feel like the world was spinning and to be in a really small space that I couldn't immediately get out of.

Anybody else have an MRI and have this experience with the contrast? The techs told me it doesn't happen very often, but a rare few people do react that way to the contrast (either get dizzy and/or nauseous). I always seem to get bad side effects from everything, so I'm wondering if it's just me or if it's something common for crohnies? (I'm still undiagnosed but most likely have IBD.)
10-20-2010, 09:57 AM   #2
rottengut91
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I had a similiar experience with the CT contrast recently. I was already naseous before because of the lovely drink before and the pain meds they had given me. I'm not sure if they use same contrast for MRI, but the CT contrast makes your whole body heat up. I was able to breath through it, but the CT was not as confining as your MRI. More of a donut than a tunnel.
Hope you get some answers soon Cat. I can't imagine going through this everyday and not knowing definitively what's going on. Don't stop 'til you get the answers that provide you relief. SEE YA!
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10-20-2010, 10:03 AM   #3
2thFairy
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I was a little dizzy, but not too bad.

Make sure you tell all involved if you ever need contrast given again!
10-20-2010, 10:06 AM   #4
Cat-a-Tonic
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The MRI IV contrast was different from the CT scan IV contrast. I remember that hot feeling (and a feeling like I had peed my pants) when I had the CT scan contrast, but I didn't have a bad reaction to that one. The MRI contrast made me have a weird metallic taste/smell in my nose & mouth, and then after about 60 seconds I got the dizzies so bad. Fortunately my dizzy spell didn't screw up anything, the techs said all the images turned out and there was no need to re-do any of them. Now I just have to wait on the results. My GI thinks it's a benign hemangioma on my liver, but he wanted to be sure as there is a very slight risk it could be something more serious such as a tumor.

As for being undiagnosed, my GI said we're stopping diagnostic testing after the MRI, at least for now. He said I most likely either have Crohn's, microscopic colitis, or some form of enteritis. Either way, he feels it's in my best interest to try to put me in remission rather than put me through more tests (plus at this point I've had pretty much every test available except for small bowel follow-through). So he put me on Entocort, which is working pretty well, and he thinks that'll put me in remission. If I don't achieve or maintain remission, then we'll figure out a new plan. And if I flare up again months or years down the road, then we'll likely start again with the testing process. So I'm not giving up on getting a diagnosis, just taking a much-needed break fow now.
10-20-2010, 10:49 AM   #5
Astra
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That's all you can do Cat!
good idea to have a minute now!
fingers crossed for you, hope it's an IBD (strange thing to say, I know) and nowt too sinister!
xxx
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10-20-2010, 11:00 AM   #6
Rebecca85
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I have never heard of using a contrast for an mri! Though maybe it's different for the brain than the abdo organs. But the hot metallic thing sounds like its the same as the ct contrast, which I had no probs with.
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10-20-2010, 11:09 AM   #7
bushydougie
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How awful Cat. Hope that you are ok now. When do you get the results?
My GI didn't mention doing anymore tests for now so I assume he's thinking the same thing which I'm quite happy about. All the tests are so awful, especially for you, that it's good to get a break and just work on getting better
x
10-20-2010, 12:35 PM   #8
Cat-a-Tonic
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Rebecca: It was definitely a different contrast than what they use for CT scans - I asked about it and I was told it is a totally different contrast. I had no problem with the CT scan contrast, either.

Sam: I'm doing okay now, made it in to work although I still feel a little bit iffy. Not dizzy anymore but a bit of a headache and I don't have much appetite. When I asked about the contrast, I was told it should leave my system completely in about 24 hours, so I'm hoping to be feeling fine again by tomorrow. I guess it's just bad luck that something always goes a bit wrong with every test! So I'm pretty glad there won't be any more tests for awhile.
10-20-2010, 06:56 PM   #9
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If you're satisfied for now Cat, I'm happy for you. I know it's been one hell of a ride so far for you. Nice to be able to get off the roller coaster for a while anyway!! I hope you never feel the need to get back on!! Good luck!!
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10-20-2010, 07:48 PM   #10
David in Seattle
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The contrast agents used in CT vs MR are indeed different, since the 2 modalities use different energy sources (x-rays for the CT, magnetic energy and brief radio waves for the MR). The most commonly used MR contrast is gadolinium, which is generally considered to be less toxic than the iodinated compounds typically used in CT. Dizziness, lightheadedness and headache are possible adverse reactions.

I've never had an MR exam, though I have had a gut CT with oral and IV contrasts. I did get the "warm flushed" feeling from the IV, not too unpleasant in my case, but the oral contrast was a really revolting, freezing cold bucket of hyper-sweetened slop dosed with some obnoxious "lemon-ish" flavoring. It was all I could do to get it all down, & I'm not someone who's usually bothered by such things. I don't know what this crap would have tasted like without the 3 lbs of artificial sweeteners and "flavor", but omitting these could only have been an improvement

I hope they were able to get usable images during your session, and that you find out something USEFUL.
10-21-2010, 12:59 AM   #11
Rebecca85
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My oral contrast tasted of liquorice or aniseed. Not bad for the first cup, but pretty nasty by the end!
10-21-2010, 01:07 AM   #12
DustyKat
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Eeeewwwww, I'll never forget Roo having to drink the oral contrast when she was as sick as a dog and she had been NBM for 4 days, nice having that as the first thing that passes your lips. Poor kid howled trying to get the stuff down. I had a sip and was just about in tears myself!!!.........the taste was indescribable.

Dusty.
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10-21-2010, 12:26 PM   #13
Cat-a-Tonic
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I personally didn't mind drinking the barium before my CT scan. Partly because it didn't taste as horrible as I feared it would, and also because I had been experiencing a bout of low blood pressure that day, and after drinking the barium, something in it brought my blood pressure back up into the normal range (sugar/sodium? it was mixed with lemonade), so I felt a lot better after drinking it. After my experience yesterday with the IV contrast, I'd much rather drink oral contrast than have another IV of the stuff.
10-22-2010, 03:31 PM   #14
Cat-a-Tonic
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Update: I just spoke with my GI's nurse, she said that the MRI found four benign hypoplasias on my liver. My GI hasn't yet had a chance to review the MRI findings, so I'm not sure if he'll recommend anything or prescribe anything for it or not. Has anyone else had benign hypoplasias on their liver, and if so, did you just leave it or did you have to do anything or take any meds for it?
10-22-2010, 08:19 PM   #15
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Don't know what it means Cat, but benign sounds goooooooddd!!
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