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Intravenous Pyelogram


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.

Revision Information

  • 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.

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