Magnetic Resonance Angiography

In magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer produce the detailed images. MR angiography does not use ionizing radiation (X-rays).

MR angiography may be performed with or without contrast material. If needed, the contrast material is usually injected using a vein in the arm.

Common Uses of MR Angiography

MR angiography is used to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body, including the:

  • Abdomen
  • Brain
  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Legs
  • Lungs
  • Neck
  • Pelvis

Doctors use the procedure to:

  • Identify disease and aneurysms in the aorta, both in the chest and abdomen, or in other major blood vessels.
  • Detect atherosclerosis disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and Cause a stroke.
  • Identify a small aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation inside the brain.
  • Detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs and help prepare for endovascular intervention or surgery.
  • Detect disease in the arteries to the kidneys or visualize blood flow to help prepare for a kidney transplant.
  • Guide interventional radiologists and surgeons making repairs to diseased blood vessels, such as implanting stents or evaluating a stent after implantation.
  • Detect injury to one of more arteries in the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis or extremities in trauma patients.
  • Evaluate arteries feeding a tumor prior to surgery or other procedures such as chemoembolization or selective internal radiation therapy.
  • Identify dissection or splitting in the aorta in the chest or abdomen or its major branches.
  • Show the extent and severity of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries and plan for a surgical operation, such as a coronary bypass and stenting.
  • Sample blood from specific veins in the body to detect any endocrine disease.
  • Examine pulmonary arteries in the lungs to detect pulmonary embolism (blood clots from leg veins).
  • Screen individuals for arterial disease, especially patients with a family history of arterial disease or disorders.