Dye Damages Women's Kidneys

Women have greater risk of kidney damage from dye used in coronary angiograms

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Doctors sometimes use X-ray machines to see if your heart is healthy. A type of dye has to be fed into patients' blood in order for these machines to see the inside of the heart.

This dye can cause kidney problems for both men and women.

Researchers found that women are more likely than men to get kidney damage from the dye used in coronary angiograms - an X-ray test that looks at the heart's blood vessels.

"Common heart imaging test damages women's kidneys."

While this study does not explain why women have a greater risk than men, the researchers have some ideas. According to Javier Neyra, M.D., an Internal Medicine resident at Henry Ford Hospital, the difference may be explained by a woman's body size.

Both men and women are injected with the same amount of dye during a coronary angiogram. Because women are generally smaller, says Dr. Neyra, their bodies simply may not be able to handle this amount of dye.

Dr. Neyra and colleagues wanted to see if gender influenced patients' risk of developing radiocontrast-induced nephropathy (RCIN) - kidney damage caused by the dye used in coronary angiograms.

The difference in risk might also be explained by hormone levels or other chronic conditions. However, more research is needed before we can know, Dr. Neyra concludes.

The Study

  • Over the course of one year, the researchers followed more than 1,200 patients who had undergone a coronary angiogram.
  • Women were 60 percent more likely than men to suffer from RCIN
  • Almost 20 percent of women in the study developed RCIN
  • 13.6 percent of men in the study developed RCIN
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 27, 2011
Last Updated:
April 28, 2011