What is an MRA (magnetic resonance angiography)?
MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) is used to evaluate blood vessels in the body. Unlike catheter-based and CT angiograms, MRA uses a strong magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer instead of X-rays. It produces two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) images of the targeted interior area.
Your physician may use this test to discover blocked or abnormal arteries or veins. It helps to diagnose:
- Atherosclerosis (thickening or hardening of the arteries)
- Aneurysm (bulging, weakened area in the aorta)
- Dissections (tears in the aorta)
- Carotid artery disease (artery blockage to the brain)
- Congenital heart conditions
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Renovascular conditions (arteries of the kidneys)
- Vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation)
MRA provides your physician with vital information to diagnose and plan future treatments. The test lasts less than 90 minutes.
You may not be a candidate for MRA if you:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are unable to lie still
- Have tattoos or permanent eyeliner
- Have a pacemaker or metal implanted devices
- May have metal shrapnel embedded in your body
- Have kidney disease
Why choose Ohio State for MRA (magnetic resonance angiography)?
The cardiovascular and vascular physicians and surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are experts at performing and interpreting MRA. With MRA, many patients can have their cardiovascular and vascular treatments planned without the need for any invasive imaging.
What to expect during a MRA (magnetic resonance angiography)
Preparing for your procedure
Do not eat or drink anything for at least four to six hours prior to your MRA. You may continue your medications without interruption.
Before your procedure
Before your MRA, a physician will explain the procedure and help you prepare. You will need to remove any metal jewelry, dental pieces, hairpins and eyeglasses.
During your procedure
You will lie on a table that slides into a tunnel in the scanner. You may be given a contrast dye by intravenous line (IV) or by mouth. The contrast dye helps to improve the images. You may feel flushed and cool from the dye. The needle may cause some discomfort on injection and you may experience some skin irritation at the injection site.
You will be able to talk with and see the physician in a separate room at all times. You will also have a call bell to alert staff if you have a problem during the procedure. As the scan is created, you will hear a clicking sound. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds. It is important that you lie very still during the test.
After your procedure
Unless you have been administered a sedative to help you lie still, you can resume normal activities immediately after this test. Your physician may give you specific instructions based on your medical condition.