Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An intravenous pyelogram or IVP, is a test that uses X-ray dye or contrast to outline the kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder) and the bladder on an X-ray. An IVP in conjunction with a CT scan is recommended for patients with kidney pain, blood in the urine, increased urination, pain with urination, and suspected kidney stones or tumors.

The typical IVP takes about an hour to perform. You will be given a gown to change into and a technician will position you on your back on the X-ray table. An intravenous (IV) line will be started in your arm and X-ray contrast will be given through it. Some people may experience a warm or cool feeling or a metallic taste form the contrast. Occasionally the contrast may cause nausea or vomiting.

The contrast flows through the blood and collects in the kidneys. The contrast then flows through the kidneys, down the ureters to the bladder. As the contrast is traveling, X-rays will be taken at regular time intervals. You may be asked to change positions or hold your breath while the images are being taken. A band may be put across your abdomen and pulled tight. This helps the radiologist see how your kidneys are working. Toward the end of the test you will be asked to urinate. Another X-ray will be taken to see if urine has stayed in the bladder.

After the exam, a radiologist will review the X-rays, prepare a report for your physician and forward it to his or her office.

Patient Preparation:

Nothing to eat after midnight the night before the exam and nothing to drink 4 hours before the exam. Medications may be taken with a small amount of liquid up to exam time.

After Discharge:

  • You may resume your normal diet after the exam. The contrast will be naturally eliminated from your body.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you have blood in your urine, are urinating less than usual, have nausea, or begin vomiting.


  • Tell the technologist if you have any allergies to medicine or X-ray contrast.
  • Because X-ray is used for this study you should inform the radiologist or technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
  • Please inform the radiologist or technologist if you have impaired kidneys or are on metformin (glucaphage) for diabetes.