Medical Library

Medical Library

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) is an x-ray examination of the kidneys, ureters and urinary bladder that uses contrast material. When a contrast material is injected into the patient's arm, it travels through the blood stream and collects in the kidneys and urinary tract, turning these areas bright white. 

Common uses of IVP studies
An IVP allows the radiologist to view and assess the anatomy and function of the kidneys and lower urinary tract, and helps the physician assess abnormalities in the urinary system, as well as how quickly and efficiently the patient's system is able to handle waste. The exam is used to help diagnose symptoms such as blood in the urine or pain in the side or lower back, as well as detect problems within the urinary tract resulting from kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and tumors in the kidney, ureters or urinary bladder.

Patient preparation for the procedure:

Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for your IVP study. The day before your exam, you should:

  • Have a clear liquid diet with no red dye foods for supper
  • Take a mild laxative (in either pill or liquid form) around 4pm
  • Fast (nothing to eat or drink) after midnight before your exam.
  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure
  • Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work

Many patients also receive iodine intravenously (injected into a vein) to help evaluate blood vessels and organs. This contrast material will be injected into a vein shortly before or during your scan. If you are allergic to X-Ray IV contrast, you will need to be pre-medicated a few days before your test. You will need to get a prescription from your physician or from our radiologists to be taken before the test.

Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions may increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect.  Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. 

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