Intravenous Pyelogram Study

What: An intravenous pyelogram, or IVP, is a functional X-ray examination of the kidneys, ureters and urinary bladder. It helps the physician assess abnormalities in the urinary system, as well as how quickly and efficiently the patient's system is able to handle waste.

The exam is used to help diagnose symptoms such as blood in the urine or pain in the side or lower back. The IVP exam can enable the radiologist to detect problems within the urinary tract resulting from:

  • kidney stones
  • enlarged prostate
  • tumors in the kidney, ureters or urinary bladder

What to expect: During the study, the technologist or a nurse will start an IV for the contrast agent, which is used to enhance the X-ray images. When the technologist injects the contrast through your IV, you may feel a flush of warmth or experience a metallic taste in your mouth. This is normal and will quickly subside. A series of x-rays will then be taken.

A radiologist will assess abnormalities in the urinary system and how quickly and efficiently your urinary system is functioning. At the conclusion of your exam, you may be asked to empty your bladder while additional X-ray images are taken. This study takes approximately one hour. Depending on your kidney function, your study may take longer.


  • If you are 60 years of age and older or have kidney disease, a transplant, diabetes or chemotherapy, you must have basic metabolic panel labs drawn within the last 30 days.
  • Take two Ducolax tablets at 6 p.m. the evening prior to your study.
  • After midnight, the evening before your study, take nothing but clear liquids.
  • It is recommended to drink a minimum of 17oz of water prior to the exam unless on fluid restrictions.
  • If the patient is under six months of age, consume only clear liquid four hours prior to study.