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Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an X-ray exam of your urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, and bladder). This test can help find stones or other problems with your urinary tract.

Woman lying on back on table under x-ray machine. Healthcare provider is preparing for x-ray.

How do I prepare for an IVP? 

  • Follow all instructions on what to eat and drink before the test.

  • If instructed, take a laxative the night before your IVP.

For your safety, your health care provider needs to know about any of the following:

  • Allergies, especially to iodinated intravenous (IV) contrast (a substance that improves X-ray images). You can still have an IVP if you are allergic to the contrast substance, but you will need to take a medication beforehand.

  • Previous kidney or bladder problems.

  • Diabetes medication you take.

  • Any previous surgery.

  • If you are or may be pregnant.

What are the risks of an IVP?

Risks associated with IVP include:

  • Radiation exposure

  • Reaction to the contrast substance, which may be mild (itching, hives, nausea) or severe (difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, drop in blood pressure)

  • Worsening of kidney damage

What happens during an IVP? 

  • Your health care provider will give you an intravenous (IV) injection of contrast. 

  • You’ll be asked to move from side to side and then hold still as X-rays are taken.

  • Your health care provider may apply pressure to your belly to help get the best images.

  • You may be asked to empty your bladder before the final X-ray.

Your test results

Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up visit or over the phone.


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