Skip to content

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)

How To Prepare continued...

For some abdominal MRI tests, you may be asked to not eat or drink before the test.

You may need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the test, if you are given a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.

If you are having blood flow studies, do not use tobacco products and do not eat or drink (including alcohol or caffeinated beverages) for 2 hours before the test. Do not take iron supplements on the day of the test.

You may be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

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 MRI machine camera.gif. The resulting pictures are usually interpreted by a radiologist. 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.
  • 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 IV 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 13, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
Compressed heart
Article
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW