- Preparation for your MRI will depend on your specific exam. A center representative will call you prior to your appointment to provide personalized instructions, and review health and insurance information.
- At the time of your appointment, please notify a center staff member if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.
- Because of the magnetic field, you will be required to wear metal-free clothing, or to change into a gown. You also will be asked to remove any metallic objects, such as jewelry, watches and hair clips.
- On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early to check-in and bring prior imaging results with you, if instructed.
- Your technologist will talk through a MRI safety checklist with you. Inform your technologist of prior surgeries or metal implants, such as pacemakers or aneurysm clips.
MRI Angiography or MRA is a diagnostic tool that utilizes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI or MR) – one of the safest, most comfortable imaging techniques available – to create multi-dimensional images of the inside of your body, such as your heart, brain or blood vessels. MRA is a less-invasive alternative to a traditional angiogram, which requires inserting a catheter into the body. A contrast agent may be used to highlight vessels throughout the body and improve the clarity of the images.
The MRI Angiography experience
If you have not had an MRI exam before, chances are you have questions about what to expect. Here, you’ll find information on how to prepare and what to expect during and after your exam.
- The technologist will help position you on a cushioned table. A special imaging device (called a coil) will be placed around the area of the body to be scanned.
- Once you are comfortably positioned, the technologist will go out of the room to run the scanner from a computer located directly next to the scanner suite, visible through the viewing window.
- At this time, the MRI table you are on will move into the scanner and the technologist will take the images. It is important to lie as still as possible during this part of the exam to help us capture clear images. You will be asked to hold your breath for several seconds at a time as MR pictures are taken of your heart.
- Your will hear “knocking” or “buzzing” sounds for a few minutes at a time. If you have never heard an MRI, you can listen to the sounds before your exam.
- The technologist will communicate with you throughout the exam.
- For an MRA, a contrast agent may be recommended to enhance the visibility of vessels. Your radiologist will consult with your referring physician and review your medical history, and we will discuss all contrast options in advance. If you have a history of diabetes or kidney disease, a BUN/creatinine lab test may need to be performed prior to receiving contrast during your exam. Results are normally available within minutes.
- A small needle connected to an intravenous line is placed in an arm vein. A saline solution will drip through the intravenous line to prevent clotting until the contrast material is injected.
- Additional pictures will be taken once the contrast is injected. Depending on the type of exam, you could be in the scanner anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour.
- Viewing your images and delivering results
- A radiologist who specializes in a specific area of the body will review your images (i.e., a neuroradiologist will review images of your brain).
- The radiologist prepares a diagnostic report to share with your doctor.
- The health care provider who referred you for the MRA will follow up with you about the results.