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Prep for IVP

An IVP has been scheduled for you on: ____________________________________________

IVP is short for intravenous pyelogram. This test usually takes about 1 hour. But it could take longer if your kidneys are not working as they should. This test will show if you have a problem with a kidney, your ureters, or your bladder. A problem with one of these could be causing your symptoms.

What will happen

You will be asked to wear a gown and lie down on an exam table. A needle will be put into a vein. Your provider will inject a special contrast dye solution that contains iodine into the vein. The dye travels through your body until it reaches your kidneys. X-rays are taken. The radiologist can see the outline of your kidneys, ureters, and bladder. After the test, you will be asked to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. Then a final X-ray will be taken. The entire process takes 45 minutes to several hours.

Risks of the test

The test has some possible side effects and risks. You may:

  • Feel warmth or flushing at first. This passes in a minute.

  • Feel nauseated and may even vomit.

  • Have damage to your kidneys from the contrast dye. This is especially likely if your kidneys are not working well.

  • Have an allergic reaction. This happens less often. Symptoms may include an itchy rash, trouble breathing, or low blood pressure.

Very rarely the allergic reaction may be severe enough to cause death. Your healthcare provider is aware of this. But he or she feels that the information this test will give makes it worth this very small risk. Medicines and equipment are on hand to treat any reaction that might occur.

How to get ready for the exam

Day before exam

Your healthcare provider needs to get a good view of your kidneys. To help with this, your bowels need to be cleaned out with a laxative. You will be given a laxative kit. Follow the directions in the kit.

  • Eat light meals on this day.

  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight.

Day of exam

When you wake up on the day of the exam, don’t eat or drink anything. Wait until after the exam. Be sure to tell the healthcare provider and the radiology tech if any of these apply:

  • You might be pregnant or are breastfeeding.

  • You’ve had a reaction in the past to iodine or IV contrast solution.

  • You have asthma or an allergic disorder.

  • You are allergic to any medicines.

  • You have diabetes.

  • You had a recent test with barium, such as an upper GI or barium enema.

After the exam

  • You can eat and drink as you would normally.

  • Take your regular medicines and insulin.

  • Don’t take any medicines you are told to temporarily stop.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • You can’t urinate.

  • You have a fever of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • You have chills.

  • You vomit several times.

  • Your ankles swell.

  • You have severe cramping, pain, or swelling in your belly (abdomen).

Online Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Godsey
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Neil Grossman MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2020
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