You or your child has been asked to have testing to image (make pictures of) the heart and/or aorta (or both). In this handout, you will learn what to expect from the different types of imaging tests. The doctor will help you decide which of these tests is best for your child
What are the Different Types of Tests to Image the Heart and Aorta?
There are many types of tests to image (take a picture of) your child’s heart and/or aorta (large artery that runs down the center of the body) and its branches. These tests can check the size and shape of the heart and aorta. In people with certain genetic conditions, the aorta can be larger (dilated) or smaller (hypoplastic) than normal.
Types of Heart and Aorta 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...?
John Hancock Child Life and Wellness Services at 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.