MRA – Magnetic Resonance Angiography
What is MRA?
Angiography is a diagnostic examination that facilitates the diagnosis and treatment of conditions in the blood vessels. In addition to Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA), the technologists at GO Imaging also perform MRA, or Magnetic Resonance Angiography, examinations. Our Humble and Houston facilities are able to provide this exam.
What is a Magnetic Resonance Angiography?
This method of diagnostic examination involves a scan using a magnetic field and radio wave energy. The scan provides images of blood vessels in a certain part or parts of the body, as well as data related to blood flow in the target areas.
What Areas of the Body Does an MRA Scan?
Magnetic resonance angiography is commonly performed on areas such as the:
- Upper or lower extremities
Reasons for an MRA
Physicians use Magnetic Resonance Angiography to reach conclusions regarding:
- Potential abnormalities in the brain, abdomen, chest, or arteries in another area of the body. An example of this is an aneurysm.
- The presence of plaque in the carotid artery in the neck, referred to as atherosclerotic disease.
- Efficiency of communication between blood vessels in the brain or other area. This condition is called arteriovenous malformation.
- Potential narrowing of the arteries to the legs, kidneys, or other area due to atherosclerotic disease. This may precede kidney stent or transplant surgery or some form of endovascular intervention.
- The state of arteries which feed a tumor. This may precede selective internal radiation or chemoembolization.
- Injury to arteries following physical trauma such as an automobile accident.
- Present risk for arterial disease in predisposed patients.
- Congenital abnormalities in blood vessels or the heart.
- An MRA may also be necessary as an alternative to CTA in cases where contrast media is not appropriate.
What Should I Expect During My MRA Examination?
Magnetic Resonance Angiography is conducted using an MRI machine and is performed by an MRI technologist.
Prior to the examination, patients need to remove any objects that may contain metal, including dentures, watches, and jewelry. In some cases, x-rays are necessary prior to an MRA screening in order to ensure no fragments of metal are present in the body. Referring physicians may prescribe appropriate medication to assist patients with anxiety in their imaging process.
You may also expect the following:
- Patients are comfortable on the examination table.
- The patient may be supported with comfortable straps in order to ensure no movement inhibits the examination process.
- The exam table slides into the MRI machine. Throughout the scan, thumping or tapping sounds from the machine will be heard.
- It is important to remain still throughout the examination in order to avoid the need to repeat portions of the scan.
- Some patients may need to hold their breath for a short period of time.
- If contrast is needed, this will be administered via IV just prior to a second round of imaging.
- The technologist can see and hear patients from an adjacent space and may speak through an intercom if needed.
- MRA screening may take less than one hour or up to 2 hours.
Does a Magnetic Resonance Angiography Hurt?
An MRA is not painful. A warming sensation may develop over the examination area. Some patients notice a cooling sensation if their examination includes contrast material. In some cases, a tingling sensation occurs in the mouth when metal dental fillings are present. If other effects develop during screening, such as nausea or dizziness, patients should alert the technologist performing the scan.
You may need to …
- We advise some patients to not eat or drink for several hours prior to their examination.
- Arrange reliable transportation if your referring physician has prescribed a sedative for you.
- Avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol for several hours if your exam includes blood flow study.
The results of Magnetic Resonance Angiography are sent to the referring physician. They are typically available within 1 to 2 days.
GO Imaging offers friendly, professional service to physicians and their patients. Contact one of our facilities for scheduling information.