Magnetic Resonance Angiography

Magnetic Resonance Angiography is a minimally invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

An angiogram uses imaging methods and, in some cases, a contrast material, to produce pictures of major blood vessels throughout the body. Physicians use this procedure to identify disease and/or aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels, as well as to detect atherosclerosis disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke, among other diagnoses.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA). A powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer produce the detailed images. MR angiography does not use x-rays, and may be performed with or without contrast material.

MRA is commonly used to:

  • Examine the pulmonary arteries in the lungs to rule out pulmonary embolism, a serious but treatable condition.
  • Visualize blood flow in veins and arteries throughout the body.
  • Visualize blood flow specifically in the renal arteries in patients with high blood pressure and those suspected of having kidney disorders.
  • Identify aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels; also to identify dissection in the aorta or its major branches.
  • Identify a small aneurysm or arterio-venous malformation inside the brain that can be life-threatening.
  • Detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs.

How should I prepare for this procedure?

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.

Before your MRA exam, remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRA images taken.

Notify your technologist if you have:

  • Any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
  • A heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart value
  • An intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body
  • Any previous brain surgery
  • Tattoos and permanent make-up
  • A bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked around grinding metal, or had metal removed from your eye
  • If you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
  • If you are claustrophobic. Some patients who undergo MRI in an enclosed unit may feel confined. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be administered.

What should I expect during this procedure?

Plan on being with us for a minimum of 30 minutes, depending on the part of the body being scanned.  You must lie down on a sliding table and be comfortably positioned.

Even though the technologist must leave the room, you will be able to communicate with them at any time using an intercom.

What should I expect during this exam?

If intravenous contrast material is used, you may experience a warm, flushed sensation and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. After the exam, and depending upon whether or not contrast material was used, you can return to your normal activities.

For more information on this topic, please visit www.Radiologyinfo.org.