What is an Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)?
An intravenous pyelogram, also called intravenous urography, is a diagnostic x-ray of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. When a contrast agent is injected intravenously (IV), the urinary tract will show up very clearly, which is not seen on regular x-rays. An intravenous pyelogram is typically done if you have had blood in your urine, multiple urinary tract infections (UTIs), or a history of kidney stones. It can also be used to detect kidney tumors, identify obstructions in the normal flow of urine, or an enlarged prostate.
As the contrast dye moves into and through the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, x-rays taken at short intervals can capture its movement. A delay in the contrast dye moving through the urinary system may indicate an obstruction (blockage) in the kidney's blood flow or poor kidney function.
What To Expect During Your Exam?
IVP’s or Intra-venous Pyelograms are a relatively painless exam that typically take about an hour.
Once you arrive in the Medical Imaging department you will be asked to change into a gown. The technologist will ask you a few questions about your allergies, your symptoms, and explain the exam to you.
During the exam you will be asked to lie on the x-ray table and a preliminary abdomen x-ray will be taken. An intravenous (IV) line will be started in the hand or arm and an iodinated contrast material will be injected into your vein.
This contrast may make you feel warm or slightly flushed, or you may have a slight metallic taste in your mouth. This is very common and typically goes away within a very few minutes. The contrast will be eliminated naturally from your body in a few hours.
Once all of the contrast material has been administered the technologist will begin taking multiple x-rays of your abdomen while placing you in several different positions. Once your bladder is full the technologist will ask you to empty your bladder. A few more images may be taken after urination to determine the amount of contrast dye remaining in the urinary tract.
What Happens After the Test?
You will be allowed to return to your normal diet and lifestyle soon after the test.
Once the technologists have checked the images for proper positioning and exposure parameters it will be sent electronically to a Radiologist to be read. After the radiologist has interpreted your exam a medical transcriptionist will type the exam and send a report to your doctor. This usually takes a few business days.
Your physician does have several options at his or her disposal to obtain immediate results for critical or emergent clinical situations.