Lanthanum carbonate in chronic renal failure

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i158 (Published 19 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i158
  1. I Sahbudin, rheumatology registrar12,
  2. A Peall, consultant rheumatologist1,
  3. A Filer, senior clinical lecturer2
  1. 1Wye Valley NHS Trust, County Hospital, Hereford HR1 2BN, UK
  2. 2University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. i.sahbudin{at}bham.ac.uk

A 66 year old man underwent a bone densitometry scan, which was uninterpretable at the lumbar spine owing to artefacts. A subsequent abdominal radiograph identified numerous opacifications throughout the gastrointestinal tract, even though he had never received intestinal contrast medium. He was taking the phosphate binder lanthanum for renal failure. The atomic number of lanthanum (57) is close to that of the alkaline earth metal barium (56). Lanthanum therefore appears as radiodense artefacts on radiographs. Awareness of the effect of lanthanum is important for the correct interpretation of radiographic investigations; alternative phosphate binders may be used if such examinations are planned.


Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i158


  • Patient consent obtained.

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