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Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an X-ray test that provides pictures of the kidneys, the bladder, the ureters, and the urethra (urinary tract camera.gif). An IVP can show the size, shape, and position of the urinary tract, and it can evaluate the collecting system inside the kidneys.

During IVP, a dye called contrast material is injected into a vein in your arm. A series of X-ray pictures is then taken at timed intervals.

IVP is commonly done to identify diseases of the urinary tract, such as kidney stones camera.gif, tumors, or infection. It is also used to look for problems with the structure of the urinary tract that were present from birth (congenital).

An ultrasound or a computed tomography (CT) scan may be combined with an IVP if more details about the urinary tract are needed. A computed tomography intravenous pyelogram (CT/IVP) is usually done to look for the cause of blood in the urine.

Why It Is Done

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is done to:

  • Look for problems with the structure of the urinary tract.
  • Find the cause of blood in the urine.
  • Find the cause of ongoing back or flank pain.
  • Locate and measure a tumor of the urinary tract.
  • Locate and measure a kidney stone.
  • Find the cause of recurring urinary tract infections.
  • Look for damage to the urinary tract after an injury.

How To Prepare

Before having an intravenous pyelogram (IVP), tell your doctor if:

  • You are or might be pregnant.
  • You are breast-feeding. The contrast material used in this test can get into your breast milk. Do not breast-feed your baby for 2 days after this test. During this time, you can give your baby breast milk you stored before the test, or formula. Discard the breast milk you pump for 2 days after the test.
  • You have an intrauterine device (IUD) in place.
  • You are allergic to the iodine dye used as the contrast material for X-ray tests or to anything else that contains iodine.
  • You have ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), such as after being stung by a bee or from eating shellfish.
  • Within the past 4 days, you have had an X-ray test using barium contrast material (such as a barium enema).
  • You have had kidney problems in the past or have diabetes, especially if you take metformin (Glucophage) to control your diabetes. The contrast material used during an IVP can cause kidney damage in people who have poor kidney function. If you have had kidney problems in the past, blood tests (creatinine, blood urea nitrogen) may be done before the test to make sure that your kidneys are working properly.

You may need to stop eating and drinking for 8 to 12 hours before the IVP. You also may need to take a laxative the evening before the test (and possibly have an enema the morning of the test) to make sure that your bowels are empty.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 29, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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