The purpose of this study was to use measured glomerular filtration rate (GFR), the reference standard of renal function, to assess the deleterious effect of iodinated contrast media on renal function. Such an effect has been traditionally defined as a greater than 0.5-mg/dL increase in serum creatinine concentration or a 25% or greater increase 24-72 hours after the injection of iodinated contrast medium. This pilot investigation was focused on the consequences of clinically indicated IV injection of iodinated contrast media; intraarterial injection was excluded. One hundred thirteen patients with normal serum creatinine concentrations were enrolled in an approved protocol. At random, as chosen by one of the investigators, patients underwent imaging with one of three monomeric agents (iopamidol 300, iopromide 300, iohexol 300) and one dimeric agent (iodixanol 320). Measured GFR was determined immediately before CT and approximately 3 and 72 hours after the contrast injection for the CT examination. Iodinated contrast medium, a glomerular filtrate with no tubular excretion or reabsorption, was the GFR marker. Measured GFR was determined by x-ray fluorescence analysis with nonisotopic iodinated contrast media. Monomeric and dimeric contrast agents in diagnostic CT volumes (based on bodyweight and imaging protocol) did not induce a significant change in measured GFR (95% confidence by Wilcoxon test), suggesting that use of the evaluated contrast media will not lead to more than a 12% variation. The three monomeric agents studied and the one dimeric agent were equivalent in terms of lack of a significant effect on measured GFR when administered to patients with a normal GFR.