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Vascular CTA/MRA

New Jersey Cardiac Imaging Services

While much cardiovascular imaging is concentrated on the chest, the blood vessels outside of this area (referred to as the peripheral vascular system) are just as important. Peripheral artery disease occurs when the vessels in the legs, arms, and other areas narrow and reduce blood flow. This can result in the death of tissues, pain, blood clotting, and even stroke.

3-D imaging of the peripheral vascular system with CTA and MRA has changed the approach to evaluating patients with peripheral artery disease. This superior imaging technique provides a 3-D image of the peripheral vessels which enables cardiologists to make important decisions when planning cardiac care treatment or heart surgery.

The peripheral vascular system consists of:

  • Cerebral arteries, carotid arteries, thoracic and abdominal aorta, aortic arch and arch vessels
  • Renal arteries,
  • Mesenteric arteries
  • Iliac
  • Femoral and lower extremity vasculature

The CTA/MRA Procedure

CTA is an angiography performed with a CT scanner, while an MRA is an angiography performed with an MRI. If you have either a CT scan or MRI scan before, you can expect a similar experience here. An angiography is an imaging technique in which the patient is injected with a contrast agent that will show up more clearly in the scan. This helps doctors identify blockages in the arteries.

These tests are generally safe and minimally invasive. You will need to have the contrast dye injected into a blood or artery, but other than that no incisions or injections are necessary. The CTA exam will expose you to minimal amounts of radiation, but this should be safe so long as you have not had any other radiation imaging tests in the past year. When the test is over, your care team will work with you to create a treatment plan for blockages, if necessary.

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