Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP), Intravenous Urogram (IVU) is a special x-ray examination of the urinary system which consists of the kidneys, ureters and urinary bladder. A contrast agent is injected into the patient’s vein and a series of x-ray images are then recorded as the contrast agent is progressing through the urinary tract. An intravenous pyelogram allows the radiologist to view and assess the pathology and function of the kidneys, ureters and the bladder with radiographs.

Indications for Intravenous Pyelogram
  1. Back or flank pain
  2. Hematuria (blood in urine), burning, frequent urination 
  3. Stone in the urinary system
  4. Tumors in the urinary system
  5. Urinary tract infection
  6. Enlarged prostate
  7. Congenital anomalies, e.g. renal agenesis, renal ectopia (a kidney that is not located in its usual position)
  8. Treatment planning or follow-up
  1. An intravenous pyelogram is not usually indicated for pregnant women.
  2. It is not appropriate for those with chronic illness such as asthma, kidney failure, seafood allergy, or iodinated contrast medium allergy.
  3. It is not appropriate for those who have abnormal glomerular filtration rate (GFR), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), or creatinine levels.
  1. Imaging of the urinary tract with intravenous pyelogram is a minimally invasive procedure with rare complications.
  2. Intravenous pyelogram images provide valuable, detailed information to assist physicians in diagnosing and treating urinary tract conditions.
  3. To determine the function of the urinary tract.
  4. No radiation remains in the patient’s body after an x-ray examination.
The intravenous pyelogram is usually a relatively comfortable procedure. You will feel a minor sting when the small needle is inserted into the vein. When the contrast agent is injected, you may feel flushing throughout your body, bitter taste in the throat or a bad smell from the contrast agent. These common side effects usually disappear within a few minutes.

During the imaging process, you will be asked to turn from side to side and to hold several different positions and hold your breath for clarity images.

At the end of the intravenous pyelogram exam, the film of your full-filled bladder will be taken and you will be asked to empty your bladder before the last film is taken.
There are no travel limitations before and after the procedure.
The success of the procedure depends on many factors; please discuss your options with your doctor before the procedure.
What if the procedure is not performed?
This procedure is used for diagnosis and without it the doctor may be unable to plan treatment for your condition, which may then worsen and lead to serious complications.
The intravenous pyelogram imaging process is fast with only minor pain. The examination is to avoid the invasive procedure and is less expensive than the other.
  1. Ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder cannot demonstrate the kidney function and the image of the ureters.
  2. Radionuclide scans of the kidneys (radiation remains in the patient’s body after an x-ray examination)
  3. Computed tomography urography and magnetic resonance urography cannot determine function of the urinary system and are more expensive.

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