What is angioresonance imaging?
The angioresonance or MRA is a test to diagnose by images the diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, it also serves to develop a schedule for the administration of some medications. It is actually an MRI that is performed without the need for contrast, however, on some occasions it is necessary to resort to it.
What does angioresonance consist of?
The patient lies on a table that slides into a large tunnel-shaped scanner. For this type of examination, a special dye is usually required as contrast to visualize the areas more clearly. This contrast is almost always administered through a vein in the forearm or hand. During the test, the specialist observes the patient from another room for an hour or more.
During the test, the specialist observes the patient from another room for an hour or more.
Why is angioresonance performed?
Angioresonance is performed to examine the blood vessels of any part of the body (heart, head, abdomen, kidneys, lungs and legs) and thus detect diseases such as aortic coarctation, arterial aneurysm, aortic dissection, carotid artery disease, stroke, among others. In addition, this type of test makes it possible to postpone surgery, is less invasive than catheter angiography and allows a detailed map of the blood vessels affected by a specific disease to be obtained. Therefore, the planning of the surgical intervention can be carried out more accurately.
Preparation for angioresonance imaging
Before the test, it is important to inform the medical professional if you have any of these devices:
- Artificial Heart Valve
- Brain aneurysm clips
- Inner ear (cochlear) implants
- Cardiac defibrillator or pacemaker
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Insulin port or chemotherapy
- Nephropathy or dialysis (may not be able to receive contrast)
- Vascular stent
- Newly placed artificial joints
It is also important to tell the provider if you are claustrophobic, as medication may be taken to calm the craving or you may even have the test done in an “open” MRI, which features the machine farther away from the body.
Normally no food or drink can be taken for 4-6 hours prior to the test. Once there, a hospital gown or clothing without metal fasteners may be worn, as some types of metal can create blurred images. Therefore, you should avoid carrying metal objects such as knives, glasses, credit cards, watches, jewelry, hearing aids, metal zippers, removable dental implants, among others.
What will I feel during the examination?
The patient will not feel any kind of pain during the test. The table may be cold and hard, but a pillow can be requested. On the other hand, when the machine is turned on, it produces buzzing and dull noises, so the patient may wear ear protectors. During the examination, the patient can talk to the provider at any time thanks to an intercom in the room.
Meaning of abnormal angioresonance results
Abnormal results on MRA may mean a problem in one or more blood vessels, including the following:
- Congenital disease
- Other vascular condition