MRI Vascular System


Magnetic resonance angiography/venography ( MRA/MRV )

           Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) has excited the interest of many physicians working in cardiovascular disease because of its ability to noninvasively visualize vascular disease. Its potential to replace conventional x-ray angiography (CA) that uses iodinated contrast has been recognized for many years, and this interest has been stimulated by the current emphasis on cost containment, outpatient evaluation, and minimally invasive diagnosis and therapy. In addition, recent advances in magnetic resonance (MR) technology resulting from fast gradients and use of contrast agents have allowed MRA to make substantial advances in many arterial beds of clinical interest.

Physicians use the procedure to:
  • identify disease and aneurysms in the aorta, both in the chest and abdomen, or in other major blood vessels.
  • detect atherosclerosis disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.
  • identify a small aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation inside the brain.
  • detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs and help prepare for endovascular intervention or surgery.
  • detect disease in the arteries to the kidneys or visualize blood flow to help prepare for a kidney transplant.
  • guide interventional radiologists and surgeons making repairs to diseased blood vessels, such as implanting stents or evaluating a stent after implantation.
  • detect injury to one of more arteries in the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis or extremities in trauma patients.
  • evaluate arteries feeding a tumor prior to surgery or other procedures such as chemoembolization or selective internal radiation therapy.
  • identify dissection or splitting in the aorta in the chest or abdomen or its major branches.
  • show the extent and severity of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries and plan for a surgical operation, such as a coronary bypass and stenting.
  • sample blood from specific veins in the body to detect any endocrine disease.
  • examine pulmonary arteries in the lungs to detect pulmonary embolism (blood clots from leg veins).
  • screen individuals for arterial disease, especially patients with a family history of arterial disease or disorders.

It may be used to diagnose or evaluate conditions such as:

  • Arterial aneurysm
  • Aortic coarctation
  • Aortic dissection
  • Stroke
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Atherosclerosis of the arms or legs
  • Heart disease, including congenital heart disease
  • Mesenteric artery ischemia
  • Renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the blood vessels in the kidneys)