REVIEW – September 2007

Vascular investigations by means of computed tomography and magnetic resonance tomography


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In recent years, several novel noninvasive methods of vascular research have been introduced in medical establishments of Estonia – computed tomography angiography (CTA) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). The present article gives an overview of the indications for vascular investigations, using CTA and MRA, as well as the diagnostic reliability of these methods compared with digital subtraction angiography (DSA).
Conventional angiography is an invasive and risk-related procedure, especially for patients with chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, strokes, myocardial  infarction and nephropathy. CTA may be used with the inconvenience of nephrotoxic contrast media, radiation and a highly time consuming reconstruction of original images. CTA may be limited and difficult to use for determining severity of lesions.
Recently, with the improvement in the MRA hardware and software, the results have been more reliable. The goal of MRA is to detect vascular abnormalities noninvasively. The disadvantages of MRA are presence of metallic objects in the body, pacemakers, etc. MRA is not sufficiently sensitive to detect vessel wall calcifications.