An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a special x-ray of the urinary tract. A material called contrast is used in the urine to highlight the flow of urine.
Normal Anatomy of the Kidney
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Reasons for Test
An IVP is done to look for:
- The cause of blood in urine
- Kidney stones
or bladder stones
Damage to the urinary tract from injury or
- Other problems that are causing kidney or bladder problems
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will talk to you about possible problems like:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- Allergy to iodine or shellfish
- Blood disorders
- Poor kidney function
- Certain medicines
Pregnant women should not have this test.
What to Expect
Prior to test
Recent tests will be reviewed before the x-ray. Leading up to the test:
- A laxative and
enema may be given the day before. It will empty your digestive system. Stool in the gut may make it harder to read the x-rays.
- Food and drink may need to be stopped after midnight the night before.
Description of the Test
An IV will be placed. The contrast material and any needed medicine will be passed through the IV. You will lie on a table for 30 to 60 minutes. X-rays will be taken at regular intervals. This will allow the doctor to see these body parts at work. It will better show where problems might be. You may be asked to hold your breath each time an x-ray is taken. You will also be asked to empty your bladder in a bathroom before the last x-ray.
You can return to normal activity and diet.
How Long Will It Take?
About 60 to 90 minutes
Will It Hurt?
This test will not hurt. A warmth or heat may be felt as the contrast is given through the IV.
It may take a few days to get test results. The doctor will talk to you about the results and how it may affect treatment.
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
- 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.
Intravenous pyelogram (IVP). Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=ivp. Accessed September 21, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 10/13/2020