Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)
How It Is Done
A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) test is usually done by a magnetic resonance image (MRI) technologist. The test is done in an Reference MRI machine Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. The resulting pictures are usually interpreted by a Reference radiologist Opens New Window. But some other types of doctors can also interpret an MRA scan.
Before the test
- Remove all metal objects, such as hearing aids, dentures, jewelry, watches, hairpins, wigs, and eyeglasses, from your body because these objects may be attracted to the powerful magnet used for the test. If you have had a car crash or an accident while working with metal, it is possible that you have metal fragments in your head, eyes, skin, or spine. An X-ray may be taken before the MRA to see if you can have the test.
- Take off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is examined. You may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not get in the way. You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
- You may be given a sedative if you are nervous or you do not think you can lie still for the test.
During the test
- You will lie on your back on a table that is part of the MRI scanner.
- If you are cold or uncomfortable, you may want to ask for a pillow or blanket.
- Your head, chest, and arms may be held with straps to help you remain still.
- The table will slide into a space that contains the magnet. Depending on the part of your body to be examined, your head, limbs (such as your legs), or your entire body will be moved into the center of the magnet. Some MRI machines (open MRI) are now made so that the magnet does not surround the person being tested. Open MRI is less confining than a standard MRI but may not provide the same quality of image.
- Inside the scanner, you may hear a fan and feel air moving. You may also hear tapping or thumping noises as the MRA scans are taken. You may want to ask for ear plugs to reduce the noise.
- It is important to hold completely still while the scan is being done. Otherwise, repeat scans may be needed.
- You may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time.
- You may be alone in the scanner room. But the technologist will watch you through an observation window, and you will be able to talk to him or her through an intercom.
If contrast material is needed, the technologist will put it in an Reference IV Opens New Window in your arm. The material may be given over 1 to 2 minutes. Then more MRI scans are done.
An MRA test usually takes 30 to 90 minutes but can take as long as 2 hours.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 13, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference George Philippides, MD - Cardiology