Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRA)

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What is MRA?

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a safe, painless MRI study of the blood vessels. MRI provides the best possible view inside your body using a large magnet, radio waves and computer technology to produce high quality images.

What can I expect?

You will be asked to lie on a table that slides inside the hole, or "bore," of the magnet. Wide-bore MRI is available at Legacy Good Samaritan, Meridian Park and Mount Hood. A wide-bore option can be especially helpful for claustrophobic or bariatric patients.

Small devices called coils may be placed around your head, arm, or leg to help send and receive the radio waves and improve the quality of the images. During the scan, you will hear a knocking sound that the magnet makes.

Several sets of images are usually needed, each taking 2 - 15 minutes, and the exam may take 90 minutes or longer. It's important that you lie as still as possible to make sure that we get the sharpest images. If you or your child might have trouble holding still for the scan, you're welcome to ask for medication to help you relax.

Some exams require a special dye called contrast material, which is usually given before the test through a vein in your hand or forearm. The dye helps the radiologist see certain areas more clearly.


How will it feel?

We will do everything we can to make you as comfortable as possible. Blankets, pillows, and earplugs are available, and an intercom lets you talk with the person operating the scanner at any time.

If you receive contrast material through a vein, you might feel a slight burning sensation, a metallic taste in the mouth, and a warm flushing of the body. These feelings are normal, and they usually go away in a few seconds.

There is no recovery time after MRA, unless you request medication to relax you. After the scan you can go back to your normal diet, activity, and medications.

How should I prepare?

  • Please tell the staff if you have brain aneurysm clips, a pacemaker, artificial heart valves, inner ear (cochlear) implants, or recently placed artificial joints. Depending on the type of metal in these devices, you may not be eligible for an MRA.
  • You will be asked to remove jewelry and wear a hospital gown during the scan.
  • If contrast material will be used, you will be asked not to eat or drink for one hour before the scan. Children will be asked not to eat or drink for four hours before the scan.


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