Feature | October 03, 2014 | Raissa Rocha

The Latest Trends in Contrast Media Injectors

This article appeared as an introduction to a Comparison Chart on Contrast Media Injectors in the October 2014 issue.

The use of contrast media in many imaging modalities continues to evolve as physicians seek to improve dose management practices and vendors churn out automated injectors that can precisely control the amount of contrast and personalize doses for patients using information pulled from an electronic medical record (EMR) or picture archiving and communication system (PACS). The features of today’s contrast media injectors include syringeless options and dose recording software, offering new possibilities for radiology departments looking to streamline and document their contrast media usage.

Syringeless Injectors

Syringeless power injectors have emerged recently as a solution to contrast media waste. As the Joint Commission does not allow the reuse of unused doses from single-use syringe injectors, this option gives facilities the opportunity to use contrast media as efficiently as possible.

A study published online in the Journal of Medical Devices: Evidence and Research in November 2013 sought to evaluate the use of syringeless injectors versus dual-syringe injectors for contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) in a hospital setting.1 Studying patients enrolled at Legnano Hospital in Italy, the authors recorded data on the quantity of media used as well as time spent and overall satisfaction on the radiologic technologists’ part. They found syringeless power injectors were more user-friendly and efficient than the dual-syringe power injector, with more waste per contrast-enhanced CT observed for the latter. The syringeless injector also allowed a cost savings of about $8 per patient when considering the lower cost and improved performance of the devices.

In March, Guerbet launched FlowSens, its syringe-free injection system solution aimed at the X-ray market, after receiving CE mark in Q1 2014. The system is composed of a softbag injector and associated disposables, using a hydraulic syringe-free injector to deliver contrast media. It is compatible with the company’s ScanBag solution as well as any type of contrast agent available on the market.

Bracco Imaging’s EmpowerMR hydraulic-powered contrast media injection system is designed for advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures, conditional for use in 1.5T, 3.0T and even up to 7.0T scanners. The company bills it as the “first injector to employ hydraulics rather than an electric motor to power rams” with the ability to eliminate any causes for artifacts on MR images. Both EmpowerMR and EmpowerCTA, another Bracco system, include preprogrammed protocols to work with any make and model of MR and CT angiography (CTA) scanners. With EmpowerCTA, automatic initialization options prepare syringes for filling, and an auto-purge function automatically purges air from the syringe. 

The IRiSCT information reporting system module captures injection-related information, including patient identification. This information can be sent to a PACS, recording the amount of dose used and any reactions observed by the patient, including any extravasation that may have occurred.

Available Technologies

Other systems on the market include Covidien’s Optivantage dual-head contrast media delivery system for CT, launched in 2012. The RFID-enabled system features simultaneous injection and prefilled Ultraject syringes, offering flexibility for radiology technicians and helping reduce the risk of infection. It automatically captures drug information and checks for expired materials, ensuring patients receive the correct prescribed dose of contrast for the CT examination.

Nemoto Kyorindo offers contrast media injectors for CT, MR and angiography. Customizable protocols give radiologists the opportunity to tailor programs for any diagnostic objective. The company’s MR injectors use non-ferrous construction to allow for safe integration in the MRI room. The latest angiography injector, Press Duo, features air-purge functions and is billed as the first dual injector for angiography.

Extravasation detectors are also now found on contrast media injectors. Nemoto offers a contrast media leak detection system to improve patient safety while finding extravasations earlier on in the injection process. Bayer’s XDS extravasation detector stops injections when pooling fuid is detected under the patient’s skin.

Contrast Media Uses

The use of contrast media in medical imaging continues to vary, with agents more commonly used for MR and CT examinations. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound, already a smaller niche market in comparison, makes up less than 10 percent of all echocardiograms, according to the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). The society released a new set of guidelines for cardiac sonographers in August, to help expand the use of contrast media in cardiac ultrasound, citing its benefits in better detecting myocardial ischemia at rest and during stress echos.

Automated contrast media injectors will likely remain in demand on the market as radiology departments seek to improve efficiencies and record management, while manual injection of contrast agents will continue to be preferred by end users, particularly in cardiology, who desire greater control of precision. Look for vendors to continuously update their technologies as trends evolve, making them more ideal for integration with information systems and imaging scanners.  


1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3821755/, accessed Sept. 5, 2014.

Related Content

the Contrast Media Injectors Market is estimated to be USD 1.3 billion in 2020 and  projected to reach $1.9B by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.4% between 2020 and 2025

Getty Images

News | Contrast Media Injectors | September 02, 2020
September 2, 2020 — According to the new market research report "...
The first and only FDA-approved gadolinium-based contrast agent for multi-patient dosing with an FDA-cleared Transfer Spike in the MR suite
News | Contrast Media | August 14, 2020
August 14, 2020 — The U.S.
The Global Contrast Injectors Market will grow by $613.47M during 2020-2024, according to Technavio
News | Contrast Media Injectors | June 17, 2020
June 17, 2020 — Technavio has been monitoring the ...
The FDA has approved Lilly’s TAUVID (flortaucipir F 18 injection), a radioactive diagnostic agent, for PET imaging of the brain to estimate the density and distribution of aggregated tau neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in adult patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease

Getty Images

News | Contrast Media | June 01, 2020
June 1, 2020 — TAUVID, a radioactive diagnostic agent, has been approved by the FDA for...
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have surveyed the amount of gadolinium found in river water in Tokyo. Gadolinium is contained in contrast agents given to patients undergoing medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and it has been shown in labs to become toxic when exposed to ultraviolet rays. The researchers found significantly elevated levels, particularly near water treatment plants, highlighting the need for new public policy and removal technologies as MRI become even more commonp

Samples were taken along rivers around Tokyo. Measurements of rare earth element quantities indicate a clearly elevated amount of gadolinium compared to that in natural shale. Graphics courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan University

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020 — Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan...
Gadolinium-based contrast agents

UT Dallas faculty members who collaborated with Dr. Jeremiah Gassensmith (center, back), associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, include Dr. Lloyd Lumata (left, back), assistant professor of physics, and Dr. Steven Nielsen, associate professor of chemistry. Chemistry graduate students in Gassensmith’s lab include (from left, front) Oliva Brohlin, Arezoo Shahrivarkevishahi and Laurel Hagge.

News | Contrast Media | February 06, 2020
February 6, 2020 — University of Texas at Dallas researchers