URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/intravenous-pyelogram-ivp/

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

What is an intravenous pyelogram (IVP)?

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a type of x-ray that provides images of the urinary tract. The urinary tract is made up of:

  • Kidneys, two organs located below the rib cage. They filter the blood, remove wastes, and make urine.
  • Bladder, a hollow organ in the pelvis area that stores your urine.
  • Ureters, thin tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder.

In men, an IVP will also take images of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate lies below a man's bladder.

During an IVP, a health care provider will inject one of your veins with a substance called contrast dye. The dye travels through your bloodstream and into your urinary tract. Contrast dye makes your kidneys, bladder, and ureters look bright white on the x-rays. This allows your provider to get clear, detailed images of these organs. It can help show whether there are any disorders or problems with the structure or function of the urinary tract.

Other names: excretory urography

What is it used for?

An IVP is used to help diagnose disorders of the urinary tract. These include:

Why do I need an IVP?

You may need an IVP if you have symptoms of a urinary tract disorder. These include:

What happens during an IVP?

An IVP may be done in a hospital or a health care provider's office. The procedure usually includes the following steps:

  • You will lie face up on an x-ray table.
  • A health care provider called a radiology technician will inject contrast dye into your arm.
  • You may have a special belt tightly wrapped around your abdomen. This can help the contrast dye stay in the urinary tract.
  • The technician will walk behind a wall or into another room to turn on the x-ray machine.
  • Several x-rays will be taken. You will need to stay very still while the images are being taken.
  • You will be asked to urinate. You will be given a bedpan or urinal, or you may be able to get up and use the bathroom.
  • After you've urinated, a final image will be taken to see how much contrast dye is left in the bladder.
  • When the test is over, you should drink plenty of fluids to help flush the contrast dye out of your body.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You may be asked to fast (not eat or drink) after midnight on the night before your test. You may also be asked to take a mild laxative on the evening before the procedure.

Are there any risks to the test?

Some people may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. Reactions are usually mild and may include itching and/or a rash. Serious complications are rare. Be sure to tell your health care provider if you have other allergies. This may put you at higher risk for an allergic reaction to the dye.

Some people may feel a mild itching sensation and a metallic taste in the mouth as the contrast dye travels through the body. These feelings are harmless and usually go away within a minute or two.

You should tell your health care provider if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. An IVP delivers a low dose of radiation. The dose is safe for most people, but it can be harmful to an unborn baby.

What do the results mean?

Your results will be looked at by a radiologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating medical conditions using imaging technologies. He or she will share the results with your health care provider.

If your results were not normal, it may mean you have one of the following disorders:

  • Kidney stone
  • Kidneys, bladder, or ureters that have an abnormal shape, size, or position in the body
  • Damage or scarring of the urinary tract
  • Tumor or cyst in the urinary tract
  • Enlarged prostate (in men)

If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about an IVP?

IVP tests aren't used as often as CT (computerized tomography) scans for viewing the urinary tract. A CT scan is a type of x-ray that takes a series of pictures as it rotates around you. CT scans can provide more detailed information than an IVP. But IVP tests can be very helpful in finding kidney stones and certain urinary tract disorders. Also, an IVP test exposes you to less radiation than a CT scan.

References

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The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.