Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Various Sites (Abdomen, Blood Vessels, Brain, Breast, Chest, Musculoskeletal, Pancreas, Pelvis, Pituitary, Venography)


Magnetic resonance angiography: MRA; magnetic resonance imaging: MRI.

To visualize and assess internal organs/structures and blood vessels for abnormal or absent anatomical features, abscess, aneurysm, cancer or other masses, infection, or presence of disease. Used as an evaluation tool for surgical, radiation, and medical therapeutic interventions.

Patient Preparation
General: There are no food, fluid, activity, or medication restrictions unless by medical direction. Note: Protocols regarding the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) in patients with impaired kidney function and who are receiving metformin or drugs containing metformin for type 2 diabetes may vary by facility; the drug may be discontinued on the day of the test and continue to be withheld for 48 hr after the test. Kidney function should be assessed per facility protocol before use of metformin is resumed (e.g., serum creatinine [CR], estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR], hydration, or clinical assessment). MRA: Some protocols may require the patient to restrict prescribed oral iron supplements prior to the study because the iron may interfere with the study results. Restriction of food, fluids, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine for 1 to 2 hr before the procedure may also be required in order to avoid vasoconstriction or vasodilation as well as nausea and vomiting related to anxiety while in the MRI scanner.

Normal Findings

  • MRA: Normal blood flow/rate in the area being examined.
  • MRI: Normal anatomical structures, function, soft tissue density, and biochemical constituents of body tissues, including blood flow/rate.

Critical Findings and Potential Interventions

  • Abscess
  • Acute gastrointestinal (GI) bleed
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection
  • Cerebral aneurysm
  • Cerebral emboli
  • Cerebral infarct
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infection
  • Occlusion
  • Pulmonary emboli
  • Skull fracture or contusion
  • Tumor with significant mass effect
  • Vertebral artery dissection

Timely notification to the requesting health-care provider (HCP) of any critical findings and related symptoms is a role expectation of the professional nurse. A listing of these findings varies among facilities.

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