Abdominal aortic aneurysm MRI

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]; Hardik Patel, M.D. Ramyar Ghandriz MD[3]


MRI might be a better soft tissue visualizer than ultrasonography and CT, but its limitations limit its usage as a screening tool and as a diagnostic tool during emergencies like ruptured AAA. However its advantages makes it a good alternative in AAA patients with poor renal function and in elective preoperative evaluation of unruptured AAA[1].



  • MRI may be helpful in stable patients with a severe dye allergy, where CT scanning is contraindicated.
  • MRI provides imaging of the aorta comparable to that with CT scanning and ultrasonogram without subjecting the patient to dye load or ionizing radiation.
  • MRI also provides superior imaging of branch vessels compared with CT scan or ultrasonogram[2].
  • MRI is a more precise preoperative evaluator and affords immediate post operative evaluation of surgical repair of AAA[3].


  • Lack of widespread availability
  • Need for a stable patient
  • More sensitive to motion than CT, thus requiring the patient to remain motionless for a longer period of time
  • Incompatible with monitoring equipment
  • High cost
  • Less valuable in assessing suprarenal extension of aneurysm
  • Less accurate than thin-slice CT[2]


  1. Thurnher, SA.; Dorffner, R.; Thurnher, MM.; Winkelbauer, FW.; Kretschmer, G.; Polterauer, P.; Lammer, J. (1997). "Evaluation of abdominal aortic aneurysm for stent-graft placement: comparison of gadolinium-enhanced MR angiography versus helical CT angiography and digital subtraction angiography". Radiology. 205 (2): 341–52. PMID 9356613. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Litmanovich, D.; Bankier, AA.; Cantin, L.; Raptopoulos, V.; Boiselle, PM. (2009). "CT and MRI in diseases of the aorta". AJR Am J Roentgenol. 193 (4): 928–40. doi:10.2214/AJR.08.2166. PMID 19770313. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. Cejna, M.; Loewe, C.; Schoder, M.; Dirisamer, A.; Hölzenbein, T.; Kretschmer, G.; Lammer, J.; Thurnher, S. (2002). "MR angiography vs CT angiography in the follow-up of nitinol stent grafts in endoluminally treated aortic aneurysms". Eur Radiol. 12 (10): 2443–50. doi:10.1007/s00330-002-1429-8. PMID 12271383. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

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