Much more than a simple tube, the aorta is our lifeline, ferrying blood from the heart to the rest of our body. In Marfan it can be compromised, requiring regular surveillance, sometimes using a CT and sometimes an MRI scan. What’s the difference?

-Both of these imaging modalities are frequently used in individuals  with Marfan syndrome. 
- Your doctors will carefully assess the risks and benefits of both types of imaging to choose the type of scan that is best suited to you
-These scans are often done alongside other tests like echocardiograms which may be carried out more regularly
-It's helpful for doctors to compare 'like with like' so they will often try and repeat the same type of test for comparison purposes

A CT Scan .....

Uses X-rays (radiation) to obtain 3D images of your body structures

Fast (usually under 15 minutes)

Contrast may be used to improve pictures

Better for acute/emergency situations like aortic dissection

Widely available nationwide

An MRI ...

Uses magnets and radio waves to obtain 3D images of your body structures 

 Slower (usually 30-60 minutes) 

 Contrast may be used to improve pictures 

 Better for long term aortic monitoring and repeated imaging (due to no use of radiation) 

 May need to travel to a specialist centre for detailed cardiac/aortic imaging 

 Can be claustrophobic 

 Need to make staff aware of any metal in the body e.g. pacemakers

Marfan Trust, a CIO registered as a charity in England in Wales with charity number 1198847 at: c/o 24 Oakfield Lane, Keston, Kent, BR2 6BY. Contact us at [email protected] or by phone on + 44 (0)333 011 5256
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