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How can we offer lower Angiogram prices?
Our contract prices are lower than what individuals can get for themselves for the following five reasons: (1) Compared to a one-time client, we send a very large number of patients to imaging centers (i.e. volume discount); (2) the patients we refer are paying cash (i.e. increase cash flow to Centers): (3) Centers do not have to bill and wait for insurance reimbursement (i.e. saves the Centers on overhead); and (4) our patients fill in available openings which increases the Center's bottom line by minimizing staff and equipment idle time (i.e. increased opportunity advantage); (5) Centers must contract with a third party to offer rates at or below Medicare reimbursement rates. If a Medicare participating Center were to offer an individual cash rates lower than Medicare reimbursement rates, the Center could be held liable for huge financial penalties, and/or they could lose their ability to participate in the Medicare program.
Get the highest savings...To save the most money on the Angiogram, please note that California, Arizona, New Jersey, Florida and a few other imaging centers have the advertised $380 cash discount Angiogram cash discount prices. Call now for more information.
What is MR Angiography?
Angiography is a minimally invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Angiography uses one of three imaging technologies and, in some cases, a contrast material to produce pictures of major blood vessels throughout the body.
Angiography is performed using:
In magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer produce the detailed images. MR angiography does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).
MR angiography may be performed with or without contrast material. If needed, the contrast material is usually injected using a vein in the arm.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
MR angiography is used to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body, including the:
Physicians use the procedure to:
How should I prepare?
You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners.
Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam vary at different facilities. Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take medications as usual. The MR angiogram may require the patient to receive an injection of contrast into the bloodstream. The radiologist or technologist may ask if you have allergies of any kind such as allergy to iodine or x-ray contrast material, drugs, food, the environment, or asthma. However, the contrast material used for an MRI exam, called gadolinim, does not contain iodine and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than iodine containing contrast used for CT scan.
The radiologist should also know if you have any serious health problems and what surgeries you have undergone. Some conditions, such as severe kidney or liver disease may prevent you from having an MRI with contrast material.
Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. MRI has been used for scanning patients since the 1980's with no reports of any ill effects on pregnant women or their babies. However, because the baby will be in a strong magnetic field, pregnant women should not have this exam unless the potential benefit from the MRI is assumed to outweigh the potential risks.
If you are breastfeeding at the time of the exam, you should ask your radiologist how to proceed. It may help to pump breast milk ahead of time and keep it on hand for use after contrast material has cleared from your body, about 24 hours after the test. If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative.
Young children should not eat or drink for about four hours if they will receive a sedative.
Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit, metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the exam room. These items include:
In most cases, an MRI exam is safe for patients with metal implants, except for a few types. People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area unless explicitly instructed to do so by a radiologist or technologist who is aware of the presence of any of the following:
You should tell the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices in your body, because they may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk, depending on their nature and the strength of the MRI magnet. Examples include but are not limited to:
In general, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during MRI. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure. If there is any question of their presence, an x-ray may be taken to detect the presence of and identify any metal objects.
Patients who might have metal objects in certain parts of their bodies may also require an x-ray prior to an MRI. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem. Tooth fillings and braces usually are not affected by the magnetic field but they may distort images of the facial area or brain, so the radiologist should be aware of them.
What does the equipment look like?
The traditional MRI unit is a large cylinder-shaped tube surrounded by a circular magnet. You will lie on a moveable examination table that slides into the center of the magnet. Some MRI units, called short-bore systems, are designed so that the magnet does not completely surround you; others are open on the sides ("low-strength" open MRI). These units are especially helpful for examining patients who are fearful of being in a closed space and for those who are very obese. Newer open MRI units provide very high quality images for many types of exams; however, open MRI units with older magnets may not provide this same quality. Certain types of exams cannot be performed using open MRI. For more information, consult your doctor. The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in a separate room than the scanner.
How does the procedure work?
Unlike conventional x-ray examinations and computed tomography (CT) scans, MRI does not depend on ionizing radiation. Instead, while in the magnet, radio waves redirect the axes of spinning protons, which are the nuclei of hydrogen atoms, in a strong magnetic field. The magnetic field is produced by passing an electric current through wire coils in most MRI units. Other coils, located in the machine and in some cases, placed around the part of the body being imaged, send and receive radio waves, producing signals that are detected by the coils.
A computer then processes the signals and generates a series of images each of which shows a thin slice of the body. The images can then be studied from different angles by the interpreting physician. Overall, the differentiation of abnormal (diseased) tissue from normal tissues is often better with MRI than with other imaging modalities such as x-ray, CT and ultrasound. Then a contrast material is introduced to the bloodstream during the procedure, it clearly defines the blood vessels being examined by making them appear bright white.
How is it performed?
This examination is usually done on an outpatient basis. You will be positioned on the moveable examination table. Straps and bolsters may be used to help you stay still and maintain the correct position during imaging. Small devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of the body being studied.
If a contrast material will be used in the MRI exam, a nurse or technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm. A saline solution may be used. The solution will drip through the IV to prevent blockage of the IV line until the contrast material is injected. You will be moved into the magnet of the MRI unit and the radiologist and technologist will leave the room while the MRI examination is performed.
If a contrast material is used during the examination, it will be injected into the intravenous line (IV) after an initial series of scans. Additional series of images will be taken during or following the injection. When the examination is completed, you may be asked to wait until the technologist or radiologist checks the images in case additional images are needed. Your intravenous line will be removed. MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes. The entire examination is usually completed within 30 to 60 minutes.
What will I experience during and after the procedure?
Most MRI exams are painless. Some patients, however, find it uncomfortable to remain still during MR imaging. Others experience a sense of being closed-in (claustrophobia). Therefore, sedation can be arranged for those patients who anticipate anxiety, but fewer than one in 20 require it.
It is normal for the area of your body being imaged to feel slightly warm, but if it bothers you, notify the radiologist or technologist. It is important that you remain perfectly still while the images are being recorded, which is typically only a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. For some types of exams, you may be asked to hold your breath. You will know when images are being recorded because you will hear tapping or thumping sounds when the coils that generate the radiofrequency pulses are activated. You will be able to relax between imaging sequences, but will be asked to maintain your position as much as possible.
You will usually be alone in the exam room during the MRI procedure. However, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom. Many MRI centers allow a friend or parent to stay in the room as long as they are also screened for safety in the magnetic environment.
You may be offered or you may request earplugs to reduce the noise of the MRI scanner, which produces loud thumping and humming noises during imaging. MRI scanners are air-conditioned and well-lit. Some scanners have music to help you pass the time.
When the contrast material is injected, it is normal to feel coolness and a flushing sensation for a minute or two. The intravenous needle may cause you some discomfort when it is inserted and once it is removed, you may experience some bruising. There is also a very small chance of irritation of your skin at the site of the IV tube insertion.
If you have not been sedated, no recovery period is necessary. You may resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately after the exam. A few patients experience side effects from the contrast material, including nausea and local pain. Very rarely, patients are allergic to the contrast material and experience hives, itchy eyes or other reactions. If you experience allergic symptoms, a radiologist or other physician will be available for immediate assistance. It is recommended that nursing mothers not breastfeed for 36 to 48 hours after an MRI in which a contrast material was given.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician, who will share the results with you.
What are the benefits vs. risks?
What are the limitations of MR Angiography?
Unlike CT angiography, MR angiography is not able to see and capture images of calcium deposits. The clarity of MR angiography images of some arteries does not match those obtained with conventional catheter-based angiography. MRI of small vessels, in particular, may be difficult. Sometimes it may be difficult to separate images of arteries from veins with MR angiography.
Individuals who cannot lie still or who cannot lay on their back may have MR angiography images that are of poor quality. Some tests require patients to hold their breath for 15 to 25 seconds at a time in order to get good MR angiography pictures. High-quality images are assured only if you are able to remain perfectly still or hold your breath, if requested to do so, while the images are being recorded. If you are anxious, confused or in severe pain, you may find it difficult to lie still during imaging.
A person who is very large may not fit into the opening of a conventional MRI machine. The presence of an implant or other metallic object sometimes makes it difficult to obtain clear images and patient movement can have the same effect. Although there is no reason to believe that magnetic resonance imaging harms the fetus, pregnant women usually are advised not to have an MRI exam unless medically necessary. Contrast injections, especially early in the pregnancy, are usually avoided except when absolutely necessary for medical treatment.
Coronary Angiography...Coronary angiography is an X-ray examination of the blood vessels or chambers of the heart. A very small tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. The tip of the tube is positioned either in the heart or at the beginning of the arteries supplying the heart, and a special fluid (called a contrast medium or dye) is injected. This fluid is visible by X-ray, and the pictures that are obtained are called angiograms. Another name for this test is coronary arteriography.
What are the pros and cons of angiography?
The pros and cons of coronary arteriography vary for every patient. The physician and patient should discuss the specific situation. Often an angiogram is necessary before deciding whether coronary disease needs more treatment.
What is MRI Angiography?
Magnetic resonance imaging is a method of producing extremely detailed pictures of body tissues and organs without the need for x-rays. The electromagnetic energy that is released when exposing a patient to radiofrequency waves in a strong magnetic field is measured and analyzed by a computer, which forms two- or three-dimensional images that may be viewed on a TV monitor. MR angiography (MRA) is an MRI study of the blood vessels. It utilizes MRI technology to detect, diagnose and aid the treatment of heart disorders, stroke, and blood vessel diseases. MRA provides detailed images of blood vessels without using any contrast material, although a special form of contrast material is often given to make the MRI images even clearer. The procedure is painless, and the magnetic field is not known to cause tissue damage of any kind.
What are some common uses of the MRA procedure?
How should I prepare for the procedure?
The magnetic field used for MRA will pull on any iron-containing object in the body, such as a heart pacemaker, intrauterine device, vascular access port, metal plate, pins, screws or staples. You will be given a questionnaire to answer regarding these issues. The radiologist or technologist should know about any such item and also whether you have ever had a bullet in your body, whether you ever worked with metals, or if you have had a joint replacement. If there is any question, an x-ray can be taken to detect metal objects. The radiologist should also know if you have fillings in your teeth, which could distort images of the facial region or brain. Braces make it harder to properly adjust the MRI unit. You will be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any dental work that can be taken out. Some wigs contain metal and must be removed. Red dyes used in tattoos and permanent eyeliner may contain metallic iron, but this is rarely a problem. You should report any drug allergies to the radiologist or technologist and should mention if there's any possibility that you might be pregnant.
You can eat normally before the exam (unless told differently), but a young child should not eat or drink for about four hours if they will receive a sedative. The rules vary at different MRI facilities, so be sure to check with your medical center about eating and drinking before the exam. Medications may be taken as usual.
How does the procedure work?
Exposing the patient to radio waves in a strong magnetic field generates data that are used by a computer to create images of tissue slices that may be viewed in any plane or from any direction. The magnetic field lines up atomic particles in the tissues called protons, which are then spun by a beam of radiofrequency waves and produce signals that are picked up by a receiver in the imager. It is these signals that are processed by the computer to produce images. The resulting images are very sharp and detailed and are thus able to demonstrate tiny changes from the normal pattern that are caused by disease or injury. Special settings are used to image various structures, such as arteries in the case of MRA.
How is the procedure performed?
The patient is placed on a special table and positioned inside the opening of the MRI unit. A typical exam consists of two to six imaging sequences, each taking two to 15 minutes. Each sequence provides a specific image orientation and a specified degree of image clarity or contrast. Depending on the type of exam being done, the total time needed can range from 10 to 60 minutes, not counting the time needed to change clothing, have an IV put in and answer questions. When contrast material is needed, a substance called gadolinium is given by IV injection during one of the imaging sequences. It highlights blood vessels, making them stand out from surrounding tissues.
The radiologist and technologist leave the examining room during the actual imaging process, but the patient can communicate with them at any time using an intercom. Some centers permit a friend to stay nearby, or a parent if a child is being examined. When the exam is completed you will be asked to wait to make sure that more images are not needed.
What will I experience during the MRA procedure?
The technologist will make you as comfortable as possible, but at times the magnet may be within a few inches of your face. For those who become very uncomfortable when enclosed in a small space, a mild sedative is nearly always effective. You may notice a warm feeling in the area being studied. This is normal, but do not hesitate to report it if it bothers you. If you receive a contrast materiall injection, there may be some local discomfort at the IV site. The loud tapping or knocking noises that are heard during certain parts of the exam disturb some patients; earplugs may help.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
A radiologist experienced in MRI will analyze the results and send a report to your physician, along with an interpretation of the findings. Your physician in turn will discuss the MRA findings with you. Some centers now send diagnostic reports and images over the Internet, speeding up the process.
What are the benefits vs. risks?
What are the limitations of MR Angiography?
MRA does not image calcium, as does CT angiography. The procedure should be avoided in any patient with a pacemaker, implanted neurostimulator, metallic ear implant or metallic object within the eye socket. It should also be avoided if there is a bullet fragment or if the patient has a port for delivering insulin or chemotherapy. The clearness of MRA images does not yet match those obtained with conventional angiography. MRI of small vessels, in particular, may not be adequate for diagnosis and treatment planning. Sometimes it may be difficult to separate images of arteries from veins with MRA.