A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is a type of MRI scan that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of blood vessels inside the body, helping physicians diagnose and test vascular disease. An MRA can find problems with the blood vessels that may be causing reduced blood flow. With MRA, both the blood flow and the condition of the blood vessel walls can be seen. MRA’s are used to access the narrowing of vessels (stenosis), obstructions such as clots, and other abnormalities such as aneurysms.
Conditions that benefit from this procedure:
evaluate the vessels of the brain to look for aneurysms, vascular malformations such as AVMs, narrowing and blockage of the vessels of the brain
detect atherosclerotic (plaque) disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke
detect disease in the arteries to the kidneys or visualize blood flow to help prepare for a kidney transplant
evaluate obstructions of vessels
Please remember to bring all related examinations with you to your appointment
There is no need to alter your diet or medication prior to an MRI examination, except from the abdominal examinations (no eating or drinking for 2 hours prior to the examination). During the exam most metal items will need to be removed. Patients with metallic implants, pacemakers or metal clips must notify the technologist prior to examination. If you are having an MRI of the head, please do not wear eye makeup. In case you have a history of allergy or kidney disease, please inform your physician to obtain additional details of your preparation.
You will be asked to remove all of your clothes and change into a gown to avoid metallic objects being inadvertently taken into the scanner. The MRI technologist will help to position you on a movable table and will try to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. The table will slide slowly into the center of the scanner. A two-way intercom allows you to communicate with the MRI technologist. You need to lie as still as possible during the scan otherwise the images may be blurry and the scan may need to be repeated.Some MRI examinations require an injection of a special intravenous contrast or dye (called Gadolinium). This can provide additional detail on the MRI pictures and is usually injected into a small vein in the elbow. If you experience symptoms of claustrophobia or are unable to lie flat comfortably, mild oral sedation can be administered during the examination, in order to relax. After your scan, you will need to remain under observation for some time in order to recover from the sedation and you will need to be accompanied by someone who can drive you home.MRI is usually avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy unless there are special circumstances. Please notify us if you are pregnant or if you think you may be pregnant.