Hand Swollen After Having an MRI w/Contrast

Updated on February 19, 2012
K.F. asks from Portland, TN
9 answers

On Friday, I had an MRI w/Contrast. The IV was in my hand. My hand and part of my arm are swollen. I spoke to the Dr on call yesterday. He said to watch for redness and warmth...neither I have. If not better in a few days to call my Dr. Just wondering if anyone out there knows what could have caused this? It doesn't seem to be improving maybe a little more swelling in my forearm. I do have pain to the touch......any thoughts?

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answers from Raleigh on

I start IV's all of the time in my job and am an RN. You have an infiltration. They knicked the vein when they stuck you and dye leaked out into the surrounding tissue. It is very painful. Stop what you are doing, get a warm wet towel, and a heating pad, watch tv, while you soak it. Take tylenol, or whatever you take for pain. The warmth will help dissapate the fluids. Expect tenderness for the next couple of weeks. Soak as often as you can. I'm sorry that happened. I had that happen to me too, after an IVP. It is very painful.

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answers from Charlotte on

Wow, K.. I saw something like this with a friend of mine years ago, but it had nothing to do with an MRI and contrast - it was just a regular IV for fluids with antibiotics. His hand was all swollen because the nurse had missed the vein, so all the fluid went into the tissues instead.

I wonder how they could get a good picture on the MRI if that's what happened to you. If I were you, I'd ask the doctor point blank if that's what happened, and if it did, is your MRI a valid test for what they are looking for, or do they need to redo the test. He should be honest with you. And if you need to have it done over, you should insist on not being billed.

Good luck,

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answers from Raleigh on

Hi K.
It's possible that the IV might have come out of the vein and contrast may leaked around its - called infiltration. I'm not sure about what the contrast is or if it is harmful if it leaks out of the vein and into the bloodstream - maybe a question to ask your doctor if it doesn't get better. You can try cold compresses. Do keep an eye on it for possible infection or tissue necrosis (probably extreme, but bodies react differently to medicines)
Hope it gets better!


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answers from Wilmington on

Hi K.,
I am also an RN who has worked with and started a wide variety of IVs. I agree with Kathy S's recommendations.
My only additional suggestions:
-elevate your hand when you're not warm-soaking it.
-move your fingers and exercise your hand.
I hope your MRI results were promising!
Good Luck.

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answers from Nashville on

My ex husband had this while he was in a coma. The IV needle had slipped out of his vein and the fluids were just building up under the skin. I noticed that his arm was very swollen and called a nurse who removed the IV and placed it in his other arm. Then we just had to wait for the fluid to be absorbed by his body. I still would see my doctor for it because I don't know if your body will absorb the contrast the same way that it does saline and glucose. Plus it may have affected the MRI, they may not have gotten accurate pictures.

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answers from Atlanta on

Thank you for your question I had the same thing happen to me this past Friday. My hand is swollen and in pain I'm going to take the advice of heat and rest and talk to the imaging center on Monday when I go back in for another scan. Cyn



answers from Charlotte on

It may not have anything to do with the MRI or the contrast. It may just be from the IV. Your doctor my be cocerned about staff. If it doesn't get any better, even without redness or pain, I would call the doctor back and demand that he look at it.



answers from Charlotte on

This is probably not it, but if it persists and they can't figure out the cause you should make sure it is not lymphedema. I have a child born with this condition. It fails to go undiagnosed in many cases becuase even many doctors are unfamiliar with it, so be proactive if you aren't getting answers. Let me know if you have questions or need info about specialists (lymphedema doctor and therapist).



answers from Clarksville on

you should definately call your dr. if i were you, i would ask to be seen right away to put your mind at ease. you're probably having an allergic reation to the dye they put into your bloodstream. although it may not be life threatening, you will probably need a Rx to help it go away. anytime you have pain that shouldn't be present, esp after any medical procedure or medication, you should see the dr.

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