The Difference between CT Angiogram and MR Angiogram
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CTA vs. MRI






The Difference between CT Angiogram and MR Angiogram

An angiogram may be completed using a traditional catheter and x-ray machine approach or non-invasive imaging technique (Please see Angiogram vs. CT Angiogram).  Non-invasive imaging techniques include computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

In terms of non-invasive angiography, each technique has advantages and disadvantages.  CT angiograms are superior to MRI angiograms because they generally create more detailed images of the blood vessels being studied.  This makes it easier for your physician to diagnose disease.  This is especially useful in coronary artery angiograms, which look at the very small (1 to 2 mm wide) coronary arteries.  In addition, a CT angiogram is quicker than MRI and may be completed in as little as 10 seconds (most of the time is spent getting the patient set up for the exam).  MRI, on the other hand, provides better images of soft tissue (including most of the body's organs).  Overall, the choice to use a CT or MRI angiogram is based on the specific part of the body being studied and the purpose of the angiogram.

The primary disadvantage of a CT angiogram when compared to a MRI angiogram is the side effect profile of a CT angiogram.  There are certain risks associated with a CT angiogram that are not seen with MRI.  For example, CT angiograms carry the risk of radiation.  This is a small but significant risk.  MRI does not use radiation, which is especially important in pregnant patients.  In addition, CT scans use contrast material that may lead to an allergic reaction or damage to the kidneys.  MR angiograms also use contrast material, but it is different and has less side effects. 

For more information, please see risks of a CT angiogram.




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