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Magnetic Resonance Angiography

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I 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 do I prepare for an MRA?

Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your MRA. You may be told to not to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before your procedure. Tell your provider if you think you are pregnant. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in your body, such as a pacemaker, implant, or aneurism clip. Tell the provider 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. Your provider 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.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What are the 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.