Intravenous Pyelogram

Functional examination of the kidneys


An Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) is an x-ray examination used to visualize abnormalities of the urinary system including the kidneys, ureters and urinary bladder. It involves iodinated contrast material injected into veins which travels through the blood stream and collects in the kidneys and urinary tract, turning these areas bright white on the x-ray images. An IVP allows the Radiologist to view and assess the anatomy and function of the urinary system.

Please bring any releated exams you may have with you on the day of your examination.


On the day before the exam you may eat a light meal and drink as much liquids as you can. You should not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your exam. You may also take a mild laxative (in either pill or liquid form) the evening before the procedure. In case you have a history of allergy, especially to iodinated contrast materials, please contact our clinic or your physician to obtain additional details of your preparation. Women should also inform their physician if there is any possibility that they are pregnant, as this examination is not usually indicated for pregnant women.

An IVP study is usually completed within an hour. However, because some kidneys function at a slower rate, the exam may last up to four hours. You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images. The patient is positioned on the table and still x-ray images are taken. The contrast material is then injected, usually in a vein in the patient's arm, followed by additional still images. The number of images taken depends on the reason for the examination and the patient's anatomy. You must hold very still and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. Near the end of the exam, you may be asked to empty your bladder so that an additional x-ray can be taken of your urinary bladder after it empties.

You will feel a minor sting as the contrast material is injected into your arm through a small needle. Some patients experience a flush of warmth, a mild itching sensation and a metallic taste in their mouth as it begins to circulate throughout their body. These common side effects usually disappear within a minute or two and are harmless. Rarely, some patients will experience an allergic reaction. Itching that persists or is accompanied by hives, can be easily treated with medication. In very rare cases, a patient may become short of breath or experience swelling in the throat or other parts of the body. These can be indications of a more serious reaction to the contrast material that should be treated promptly. Tell the radiologist immediately if you experience these symptoms.