Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

What is Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) and Definition

A diagnostic imaging procedure to evaluate the flow of BLOOD and URINE through the KIDNEYS, ureters, BLADDER, and URETHRA. IVP requires moderate preparation that typically includes taking a laxative the night before the scheduled procedure to empty the intestines so the IVP provides clear visualization of the renal structures and then consuming nothing by mouth until after the IVP. An IVP takes about an hour to complete though does not require any recovery time after the procedure.

A radiologist performs IVP by injecting an iodine-based contrast medium into a VEIN in the arm. Some people experience a mild burning sensation with the contrast medium’s injection. The person lies on the X-RAY table, and the radiologist takes X-rays at timed intervals as the contrast medium travels through the bloodstream and into the kidneys.

Sometimes the radiologist uses an inflatable compression belt, applied around the abdomen and back, to slow progress of the contrast medium through the kidneys. Near the end of the procedure the person urinates to empty the bladder, after which the radiologist takes a final series of X-rays.

It is important to drink plenty of water after an IVP to help flush the residual contrast medium from the body. Complications and side effects are rare, the most common being an allergic reaction to the contrast medium. People who have allergies to iodine or shellfish should discuss the possibility of sensitivity to the contrast medium with the radiologist or urologist before undergoing the IVP. The IVP provides an abundance of information about the structure and functions of the urinary system that is useful for the urologist in reaching or confirming diagnosis of numerous conditions affecting the kidneys.


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