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Intravenous Pyelogram

(IVP; Excretory Urography; Intravenous Urography [IVU])
  • Definition

    An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a test that evaluates problems in the urinary tract. It is done with an injection of material that is seen in the urine on x-rays .
    Anatomy of the Kidney
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Reasons for Test

    An IVP is done to identify:
    • The cause of blood in urine
    • Tumors
    • Kidney stones or bladder stones
    • Damage to the urinary tract from injury or infection
    • Other problems keeping the kidney or bladder from functioning normally
  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
    • Allergy to the iodine contrast material
    • Blood disorders
    • Poor kidney function
    • Certain medications
    Pregnant women should not have this test.
  • What to Expect

    Prior to test
    Leading up to the test:
    • You will need to have kidney function tests.
    • The day before the test, you may be asked to use laxatives and enemas to empty your digestive system. This is because stool in the intestines may make it harder to read the x-rays.
    • Do not eat or drink after midnight.
    Description of the Test
    An IV will be inserted. This will provide the contrast material and any medication that you will need. For the next 30-60 minutes, you will lie on a table while x-rays are taken at regular intervals. You may be asked to hold your breath each time an x-ray is taken. The material will highlight your urinary system on the x-ray. This will allow your doctor to see these body parts at work and detect problems. Before the last x-ray, you will empty your bladder in a bathroom.
    After Test
    You will be able to resume your normal activities and diet.
    How Long Will It Take?
    About 60-90 minutes
    Will It Hurt?
    No, but you may feel a sensation of warmth or heat as the contrast material travels through your body.
    It may take a few days to receive your test results. Your doctor will discuss the results with you, as well as any recommended treatment.
  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if you have any concerns after the procedure. Call if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Itching or skin rash
    • Shortness of breath
    If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

    Urology Care Foundation


    Health Canada

    Kidney Foundation of Canada


    Intravenous pyelogram. Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: Updated June 2, 2015. Accessed August 31, 2015.

    Revision Information

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