Intravenous Pyelogram

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


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
  • Tumors
  • Kidney stones or bladder stones
  • Damage to the urinary tract from injury or infection
  • Other problems that are causing kidney or bladder problems

Possible Complications

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.

After Test

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.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation


Kidney Foundation of Canada


Intravenous pyelogram (IVP). Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at:
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Accessed September 21, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 10/13/2020

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