MRA is a study of the blood vessels using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Using a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer, an MRA makes two-dimensional and three-dimensional pictures.
This test is done in order to:
MRIs can be harmful if you have metal inside your body such as joint replacements or a pacemaker. Make sure your doctor knows of any internal metal before the test. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. Talk to your doctor about any allergies you have. Also, let your doctor know if you have liver or kidney problems. These may make it difficult for your body to get rid of the contrast.
If your doctor prescribes a sedative:
At the MRI center:
You may be:
If contrast is used, a small IV needle will be inserted into your hand or arm before you are moved into the MRI machine. The contrast will be injected during one set of images. It helps to make some organs and vessels easier to see on the pictures. You might have an allergic reaction to the dye, but this is rare
You will lie on a special table. This table will be moved inside the opening of the MRI machine. Most MRIs consist of 2-6 sets of images. Each one will take between 2-15 minutes. You will need to lie still while the images are being taken. You may need to hold your breath briefly. The technician will be in another room. You will be able to talk to her through an intercom.
The test is painless. However, you may notice the following:
Your doctor will discuss the findings with you and any treatment you may need.
After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occur:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Heart Association
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). University of Iowa Department of Radiology website. Available at: http://www.radiology.uiowa.edu/MRI/index.html. Accessed July 27, 2009.
MRI. HeartCenterOnline website. Available at: http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.healthline.com/adamcontent/mri. Updated October 2008. Accessed July 27, 2009.
MR angiography (MRA). RadiologyInfo website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org. Updated June 3009. Accessed July 27, 2009.
Yucel EK, Anderson CM, Edelman RR, et al. Magnetic resonance angiography: update on applications for extracranial arteries. Circulation. 1999;100:2284.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 09/26/2012
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