Q. I have lightheadedness and nausea. Will MRA test help?

Answered by
Dr. Aida Abaz Quka
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 27, 2018

Hello doctor,

Extreme lightheadedness (not vertigo), sometimes a feeling of nausea, and feeling like I am going to black out any second. These symptoms hit me in very intense 20 to 30 seconds waves and then go away. I get these episodes about 7 to 10 times a day and they completely stop me in my tracks when they happen because I feel like I am seconds away from blacking out. These episodes come completely random and are not provoked by postural changes or anything else specific. All my blood work including vitamin levels and hormone levels have been normal. Cardiac: I have had numerous EKGs, two D-Dimer tests, an echocardiogram, a carotid doppler, and a 30 day event monitor. All was normal. Neurologic: Basic in-room neurological exam by the neurologist, head CT no contrast, MRI focused on brain and inner ears no contrast and an EEG. All normal. ENT: Basic exam of ears and sinuses with a scope, VNG vestibular testing. All normal. When I get these episodes, my blood pressure and oxygen levels are normal. I am not dehydrated, not diabetic, not anemic, and electrolytes are normal along with all other blood work. Kindly suggest what has to be done.



Welcome to

I read carefully your question and would explain that considering your performed cardiac tests, many disorders have been excluded (an inner ear disorder, epilepsy seizures, a cardiac disorder, thyroid dysfunction, etc.). Coming to this point, I would recommend performing a head-up tilt test to investigate for possible orthostatic intolerance. If this test results negative too, I would recommend considering panic attacks as a possible cause. You should discuss with your doctor on the above tests.

For more information consult a neurologist online -->

Thank you doctor,

I really appreciate the reply. I forgot to include that I actually have had the tilt table test as well and they did not see anything abnormal. Is there anything else at all you can think of that could be causing these symptoms? I have told my, neurologist, that I wanted an MRA to test for things like vertebrobasilar insufficiency but my neurologist said that my symptoms do not match that and is not needed I guess. Kindly give your inputs.



Welcome back to

Thank you for the additional information. Coming to this point, we can definitely exclude orthostatic hypotension. I would not recommend performing an MRA (magnetic resonance angiography), because it is not necessary, and it has also some risks related to the gadolinium contrast. I am sure that it will result normal, even if you performed it. I would recommend considering panic attacks as a possible cause of your complaints.

For more information consult a neurologist online -->

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