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Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)

How It Feels

You won't have pain from the magnetic field or radio waves used for the MRI test. The table you lie on may feel hard and the room may be cool. You may be tired or sore from lying in one position for a long time.

Some people feel discomfort or anxiety (claustrophobia) inside the MRI magnet. If this keeps you from lying still, you can be given a sedative to help you relax. Open MRI machines are less confining than standard MRI and may be helpful if you are claustrophobic.

If a contrast material is used, you may feel some coolness and flushing as it is put into your IV. In rare cases, you may feel:

  • A tingling feeling in the mouth if you have metal dental fillings.
  • Warmth in the area being examined. This is normal. Tell the technologist if you have nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, pain, burning, or breathing problems.

Risks

There is a slight risk of having an allergic reaction if contrast material is used during the MRA scan. Most reactions can be controlled using medicine.

An MRI can cause a burn with some medicine patches. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are wearing a patch.

If you have kidney disease, such as kidney failure, talk to your doctor before having an MRA scan with contrast material. The contrast material used for an MRA contains a chemical called gadolinium. If you have kidney disease, this chemical may cause a serious problem, called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.

Results

A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of blood vessels inside the body. The radiologist may talk to you about the results of your MRA right after the test. Complete results are usually available for your doctor in 1 to 2 days.

Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA)
Normal:

The blood vessels look normal and the blood flow through them is not reduced or stopped. No blood clots or large plaque buildup is seen.

Blood vessel walls are normal. No bleeding, abnormal collections of fluid, blockage in the flow of blood, or bulges in the blood vessels (aneurysms) are present.

Abnormal:

Partial or complete blockage of a blood vessel may be seen. Blockage may be caused by a blood clot, the buildup of fat and calcium deposits (plaque), or narrowing (stenosis) of the blood vessel.

A bulge (aneurysm) in the blood vessel wall may be seen. Damage to the wall of a blood vessel may be seen.

Conventional angiogram or a CT angiogram (computed tomography angiogram) may be needed after MRA if a problem, such as an aneurysm, is found or if surgery may be needed.

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.

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