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.
If you are breast-feeding and
contrast material is used during the test, give your baby formula for 1 to 2
days after the procedure until the contrast material has passed from your
You may need to sign a consent form that says you understand
the risks of an abdominal MRI and agree to have the test 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 . 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 an car crash or an accident while working with metal,
there is a possibility 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
- 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
- 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. Some MRI machines (open MRI) are now made
so that the magnet does not surround the person being tested. Open MRI is less
confining than a standard MRI but may not provide the same quality of
- 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.