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Magnetic Resonance Angiography


What you need to know about magnetic resonance angiography (MRA):

MRA is a test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take pictures of your blood vessels. An MRA can be used to look for a blockage or narrowing of blood vessels. It can also be used to check blood flow through your heart. An MRA can help your healthcare provider diagnose or treat a medical condition. It does not use radiation.

How to prepare for an MRA:

Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your MRA. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before your procedure. Tell your healthcare provider if you think you are pregnant. Tell him if you have any metal in your body, such as a pacemaker, implant, or aneurism clip. Tell him if you have a tattoo or wear a medicine patch. Remove any metal items such as hair clips, jewelry, glasses, hearing aids, or dentures before you enter the MRA room.

What will happen during an MRA:

Your healthcare provider will ask you to lie on a table. He may place an IV in your arm and inject contrast liquid through the IV. The liquid helps the pictures show up more clearly. You may feel a warm sensation when the contrast liquid is injected. The table slides into the middle of the MRA machine. You will need to lie still during the test. You might hear knocking, thumping, or clicking noises from the machine.

Risks of an MRA:

A metal object in your body could move out of place and cause serious injury, or stop working properly. The contrast liquid may cause nausea, a headache, lightheadedness, or pain at the injection site. You could have an allergic reaction to the contrast liquid. If you have kidney problems, an MRA could increase your risk for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. This is a serious condition that affects your skin and organs, and can be life-threatening.

Seek care immediately if:

You have any signs of an allergic reaction to the contrast liquid, such as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Swelling of your mouth or face
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden decrease in urination
  • A rash, itching, or swollen skin

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have pain or bleeding at the injection site.
  • You have signs of an infection, such as redness or swelling, at the injection site.
  • You have numbness or tingling in an arm or leg.
  • You have an area of skin that is swollen, red, or thick.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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