(Updated 7/17/12)

Brett Elicker, Fergus Coakley, Kerry Cho, Charlene Fong, Tina Hampton, Roy Gordon, and John Mackenzie

Practical Aspects of Contrast Administration

A Radiology nurse or a Radiology technologist may administer intravenous contrast media under the general supervision of a physician. This policy applies for all areas in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging where intravenous iodinated contrast media is given. In order to provide for the safe administration of contrast media, those persons administering contrast media and those performing the imaging procedures must have an understanding of indications for use of contrast media as well as the potential side effects (contrast reactions) and their management.

Critical Points

  • The supervising physician must be physically present in the facility or office suite and available in order to provide immediate medical intervention to prevent or mitigate injury to the patient in the event of an adverse contrast reaction.
  • Iodinated intravenous contrast media are pharmaceuticals and have potentially dangerous and life-threatening adverse reactions.
  • Most major and minor reactions will occur in patients without any known risk factors. Virtually all life-threatening reactions occur immediately or within 20 minutes after contrast injection.
  • All areas where contrast is given must be equipped with an emergency anaphylactic box containing supplies required for the treatment of contrast reactions.