Magnetic Resonance Venography (MRV)

Why a Magnetic Resonance Venography (MRV) is Used

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Magnetic resonance venography (MRV)

Magnetic resonance venography (MRV) is a type of imaging test that is used to visualize veins in the body. Veins are the blood vessels that bring blood from your body's organs back to your heart and lungs so the blood can be replenished with oxygen and nutrients.

The MRV is done using the same medical equipment that is used for the more familiar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.)

What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

The large machine that is used for MRI tests uses a sophisticated method to create a picture that represents what is going on inside the body. The MRI machine uses specialized magnets that 'read' information, which is then sent to a computer. The computer that receives messages from the MRI machine has software that is used to calibrate and interpret the information generated from the 'magnetic' equipment. Then, all of this information is taken and used to create an image for your health care team to look at as they evaluate your medical problem.

When the MRI machine is used for MRV testing, these tools are focused on creating an image that can give doctors a rough idea of whether blood flow through a particular vein is affected by blood clots or other disease processes.

Because an MRI machine uses a magnet, you cannot have MRI, MRA or MRV if you have metal in your body, because the magnet can result in serious problems and injury.

Similarly, if you have a pacemaker, the magnet can cause the pacemaker to malfunction, with potentially serious consequences.

Why Would I Need Magnetic Resonance Venography?

MRV is a very highly specialized imaging test that is used to assess blood flow abnormalities in the veins. Most of the serious diseases that people hear about- such as stroke and heart attack- are caused by problems with blood vessels in the body that are called arteries, not by problems with the veins.

In general, vein disease is less common than arterial disease. And, more often than not, medical conditions that involve the veins tends to be less serious and life threatening than conditions that are caused by arterial disease. That is why it is more common to hear about MRI (which creates a picture of the organ itself, not so much the blood vessels) or even magnetic resonance angiogram, MRA (which is focused on creating a picture of the artery) than it is to hear about magnetic resonance venography, MRV.

Therefore, if you need to have an MRV, it is likely that your doctor is evaluating you for a less common health problem that may take a while for diagnosis. Some of these problems include structural or blood flow problems in the brain, developmental abnormalities in a very young baby, and blood clots that affect veins, rather than arteries.

Pregnant women may experience a tendency to blood clots that can result in a cerebral venous thrombosis, which is a blood clot specifically in the veins of the brain.

Overall, strokes and brain disease are highly uncommon in young women of childbearing age, but there is a slightly increased risk during pregnancy.

Sometimes, the brain structure of a developing baby or a young infant may not appear as expected, and a Brain MRV may give some insight into whether blood flow or abnormal structure of the veins could be a contributing factor. And an conditions such as intracranial hypertension or normal pressure hydrocephalus can cause neurological symptoms, and may be evaluated with MRV.

A Word From Verywell

If you have an uncommon medical condition, or a condition that takes a while to diagnose, you may be apprehensive about what to expect. As you are going through this process, be sure to get the most out of your healthcare by asking questions and communicating with your healthcare team.

If you are getting a number of medical tests that you have not heard of, you can use these tips to deal with hassles and headaches if your health insurance issues start to stress you out. You can be an empowered health care consumer so that you can have the best health care and deal with your medical issues as effectively as possible.

Sources:

Brain vein disorders in newborn infants, Raets M, Dudink J, Raybaud C, Ramenghi L, Lequin M, Govaert P, Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015 Mar;57(3):229-40

Brain Imaging in Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.Bidot S, Saindane AM, Peragallo JH, Bruce BB, Newman NJ, Biousse V, J Neuroophthalmol. 2015 Dec;35(4):400-11

Edited by Heidi Moawad MD

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