Magnetic Resonance Angiography

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is an MRI study of the blood vessels. It uses MRI technology to detect, diagnose, and aid in the treatment of vascular disorders, stroke, renal artery disease, and irregularities in the carotid arteries (in the neck) and the aorta. The MRA exam produces very sharp and detailed images, enabling your physician to detect even tiny changes caused by disease or injury. Safe, accurate, and painless, this procedure is an alternative to more invasive evaluation procedures such as an angiography.


The carotid arteries in the neck supply blood to the brain. These blood vessels are a common site of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which may severely narrow or block off an artery, reducing blood flow to the brain and possibly cause a stroke.

View an example of a Carotid MRA.


MRA can deliver high-quality pictures of the brain’s delicate vascular structures. It may be used to examine patients with symptoms of a stroke. Patients with a family history of brain aneurysms, a ballooning out of a segment of the vessel wall, can have an MRA screening to see if they have a similar disorder that has not yet produced symptoms.


Abdominal MRA is highly accurate way to evaluate aortic aneurysms and dissection. It can also evaluate the renal arteries supplying blood to the kidneys in patients with hypertension.

View an example of an Abdominal MRA.


Problems with the arteries may lead to a variety of complications such as stroke, high blood pressure, or leg pain. A traditional angiography procedure is an invasive diagnostic procedure using local anesthetic, a catheter, and X-ray equipment. The MRA provides a non-invasive alternative to study the blood flow in the legs and feet. An MRA exam does not require anesthesia and does not use radiation. An MRA exam of the peripheral blood vessels creates an MR image to help evaluate the blood flow from your middle abdomen to your feet. It can detect narrowing or obstruction of blood vessels in the legs, which produces muscle cramping, tingling, and temperature changes in the lower extremities.