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

The Marfan Trust is registered in England and Wales under charity number 328070 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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