Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Health Library
Back to Health Library   Print This Page Print    Email to a Friend Email

Definition:

Magnetic resonance angiography is an MRI exam of the blood vessels. Unlike traditional angiography that involves placing a tube (catheter) into the body, MRA is considered noninvasive.



Alternative Names:

MRA; Angiography - magnetic resonance



How the test is performed:

You will lie down on a narrow table, which slides into a large tunnel-like tube inside the MRI scanner. You must lie very still during the exam because movement can make the images blurry.

The MRI uses very powerful magnets and radio waves to create clear, detailed pictures of the body. Because of the strong magnets, metal objects must stay outside the room.

A complete scan may take 1 hour or more. In some cases, a dye (contrast medium) is needed to make blood vessels show up better during the MRI. The contrast medium will be given through a needle (IV) placed in your arm.



How to prepare for the test:

Most places require you to wear a medical gown. You must remove all jewelry and all other metal objects, including watches, and leave them outside the exam room.

Make sure you tell the radiologist if you have any of the following:

  • Metal screws, pins, plates, or staples in your body
  • Heart pacemaker
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Any type of metal implant in the ear or eye
  • Bullet fragments in the body
  • Implanted neurostimulator
  • Insulin or chemotherapy port

If you are pregnant, be sure to tell your doctor and radiologist before having this test.

Also tell the radiologist if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis, as this may affect whether you can have IV contrast.



How the test will feel:

The exam is not painful. Some people may feel some pain when the IV is placed into the arm. In addition, some people may have anxiety because the scanner is very close to the body. If you are claustrophobic, tell your health care provider. You may be given a mild sedative.

The table may be hard or cold. You may wish to ask for a blanket or pillow.

The machine produces loud thumping and humming noises. Ear plugs are usually given to reduce the noise.



Why the test is performed:

MRA is used to look at the blood vessels in all parts of the body, including the head, heart, abdomen, lungs, kidneys, and legs.

It may be used to diagnose or evaluate conditions such as:



Normal Values:

A normal result means the blood vessels do not show any signs of narrowing or blockage.



What abnormal results mean:

An abnormal exam suggests a problem with one or more blood vessels. This may suggest atherosclerosis, trauma, a congenital disease, or other vascular condition.



What the risks are:

MR angiography is generally safe. However, people have been harmed in MRI machines when metal was in their body or a metal object was in the room. It is very important to tell your health care provider of any metal implants and to always remove all metal from your body and clothing before the test.

There have been reports of patients with kidney failure developing rheumatological disease after receiving MRI contrast agents.



References:

Pennell D. Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 8th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007: chap. 17.

Jackson J, Allison DJ, Meaney J. Angiography: Principles, Techniques, and Complications. In: Grainger RC, Allison D, Adam, Dixon AK, eds. Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 6.




Review Date: 5/13/2009
Reviewed By: Benjamin Taragin M.D., Department of Radiology, Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, N.Y. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Library

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100