MRI and Contrast MRI

A year and a half ago I attended the scanner dept, the staff asked routine questions including if I’d had an MRI before.

I confirmed I had and mentioned the registrar I saw wanted a Contrasting mri. The radiologist said that her form only requested the normal mri and so this is what was done.

I’ve since changed hospitals and last month my consultant requested a contrasting mri. I particularly paid attention because I knew this was overlooked at the previous hospital. My new consultant explained I’d have an injection.

When I arrived at Radiology, the routine questions were asked and I specifically referred to Contrasting mri. This time the radiologist said his records didn’t ask for this. I asked him to please double check because this type of error happened at the previous hospital (and I’d left there due to 9 years of errors and omissions). He checked his records and said it was definately not a contrasting mri request.

The mri was completed & the following day I rang the consultants secretary and explained my concerns. She confirmed the consultant HAD requested a contrast mri but his writing was so poor on the request card, it must have been overlooked!!!

She told me she would look into it and call me back. A week later I rang her to chase up and again was told she’d call me back. Another week has passed and still no call back.

I’m so frustrated, does anyone have any advice?

This is getting really common :frowning:

I’m not sure why it’s happening. It may have something to do with budgets or it may be that other types of scans can now show the same things as contrast MRI and, as they are cheaper and less invasive (and so cause no potential side effects), they do them instead.

Let us know what the neuro says please?

Karen x

Thanks Karen, it will be a few months before I see the neuro consultant & by then it won’t be the results he wanted to see.

Any suggestions of how I can get someone to look into it? I’m so new to this, I have no idea what a contrast type would give an indication of.

I’m also a little concerned that I was age 59 at dx and I don’t think I’ve ever had a relapse in over 9 years of symptoms. I rarely have a ‘good day’ just that some are better than others.

In fact, some symptoms are much worse than last year, particularly bowel & cognition.

A lady at the MS Soc meet up told me she has never had a relapse and had dx 17 years ago. Her neuro recently told her it’s possible she has ppms. She explained any dx can’t simply fit in a box & labelled and I don’t know what the difference actually is.

I’m wary because of the amount of nhs errors over the past 9 years.

I’m actually quite low in mood cos of a few infections since Christmas, so perhaps I’m being too negative. I’m just so lost in all this because I don’t know enough about MS.

Contrast is used to spot newly forming lesions - areas where there is “active” inflammation. (The technical stuff in brief: MS lesions start where there is a breach in the blood brain barrier, the layer of cells that stop things that are the wrong size / shape / charge from getting into the brain. Gadolinium, the contrast agent normally used in contrast MRI, can’t normally get past the blood brain barrier so it should only show up on the images as white stuff outside the brain. If there’s a breach, it can get inside the barrier and this shows up on the MRI as bright white patches where there shouldn’t be any - and this is where MS is attacking the brain.)

If you’ve never had a relapse, but you definitely have MS, then it’s highly likely that you have primary progressive MS, but obviously only a neuro can confirm that (and I’m not a neuro!).

The main types are RRMS (relapsing remitting, where people have periods when their MS is active and causing symptoms and then periods of remission when things generally improve to some degree, often very well in the earlier years), PPMS (primary progressive, where people’s symptoms gradually worsen over time without any clear periods of remission, although things can plateau from time to time and people have good/bad days) and SPMS (secondary progressive, where people who used to have RRMS develop more of a progressive condition, with or without relapses on top). The MSS and the MS Trust both do really good booklets explaining all this stuff - I recommend you have a look at their publications list and order whatever seems might help. Everything’s free.

All those infections will have made everything very hard going :frowning: Hopefully things will look brighter when you get rid of the latest one!


Hi Chrissie, I agree with Karen, if you have definite dx of MS and never had a relapse it is more likely to be ppms.

I have ppms so I know how frightening that thought can be… but having ppms is not the end of the world… any more than having rrms is. For the vast majority of people it progresses slowly… and sometimes stops progressing altogether. Come and visit us on the ppms board. I answered a post today titled ‘petrified’ today where I explain much more about ppms.

If I were you I think I would try and have that neuro appointment brought forward… firstly so you can get the ‘contrast’ muddle sorted and secondly so you can discuss your feelings (valid feelings) that it might be ppms. Perhaps contact the MS nurse if there is one or write or email the neuro. Ask if they can fit you in sooner or if they can contact you if they have a cancellation.

I hope the infections clear up soon… enought to put anyone in a low mood… & you get to see the neuro soon. If you have other questons about ppms ask us on the ppms board or feel free to PM me.

Pat x