What are the Different Types of Tests to Image the Aorta?
There are many types of tests to image (take a picture of) your child’s aorta (large artery that runs down the center of the body) and its branches. These tests can check the size and shape of the aorta. In people with certain genetic conditions, the aorta can be larger (dilated) or smaller (hypoplastic) than normal.
Types of Aortic Imaging Tests
|Type of test||What the test does||Radiation||Contrast dye||Important things to know|
|Echocardiogram||A type of ultrasound that makes pictures of the heart and blood vessels||No||No||
|MRI with angiography (MRA)||
An MRI uses magnets to image the heart and blood vessels.
Pictures from an MRI are clearer than an echocardiogram. An MRI can also image the entire length of the aorta.
Angiography uses contrast. This makes the best pictures of the aorta and blood vessels.
|CT scan with angiography (CTA)||A CTA is a type of X-ray that makes pictures of the heart and blood vessels.||Yes, but a small dose||Yes||
Did You Know?
The Child Life team at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) can help your child before, during and after an imaging test. Ask your child’s care team if you would like to learn more about Child Life.