Non-Contrast MRA: Reasons for Use
- Posted on: Jan 30 2018
Diagnostic imaging is not a common topic of discussion, but there are certain terms that are relatively recognizable. Many people have heard of an MRI test, but far fewer have heard of the MRA, or magnetic resonance angiography. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, creates images of internal structures with the help of powerful radio wave energy within a manufactured magnetic field (made by the MRI machine). Similarly, MRA utilizes a magnetic field of radio wave energy to observe internal structures. This specialized imaging is often performed to observe the way blood flows through certain blood vessels in the body.
Magnetic resonance angiography can be performed with or without contrast media, a medical dye that aids in the attainment of fine details in the observed structure. Non-contrast MRA may be indicated for patients who are intolerant to this dye. Furthermore, as imaging equipment continues to advance, the need for contrast media may steadily decline without diminishing results.
This type of magnetic resonance angiography may be an alternative to traditional angiography, which involves a minimally invasive procedure to observe vessels in the heart. In this standard procedure, observation is facilitated by a flexible tube that is inserted into the body. MRA can also capture detailed information needed to diagnose or monitor atherosclerosis, but without invasive technique.
Magnetic resonance angiography uses the same basic technology as MRI scans. Therefore, preparations for each type of imagine are similar.
- Patients are able to take their usual medications and should have no restrictions for eating or drinking prior to their test.
- It may be necessary to change into a medical gown for testing, so patients are advised to wear comfortable clothing to their appointment.
- It is necessary to lie very still during MRA testing. Patients are made as comfortable as possible with bolsters, and may discuss the use of sedative medication with their referring physician if they are concerned about feeling claustrophobic.
- The referring physician needs to be informed if there is metal in the body, such as a metal orthopedic implant.
Magnetic resonance imaging provides valuable medical information, but is not appropriate for every person. Alternative methods of imaging need to be found for patients who are pregnant, have a pacemaker or artificial heart valves, or have a history of kidney problems.
Posted in: MRI