Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

What is IVP?

It is a radiological screening test to trace functional or morphological abnormalities of the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder - KUB) by infusing contrast medium intravenously (i.v.). It is conducted with the use of an external apparatus producing X-rays of the body projecting the various organs upon a special film.

When is IVP performed?

Your Urologist may recommend this screening test in the following cases:.

  • To evaluate renal function.
  • To diagnose and monitor lithiasis.
  • When there is traumatic injury in the urinary tract (e.g. renal rupture).

How should the patient be prepared for IVP?

If there are no other health problems, no special preparation is needed for the test. However, your physician should be aware of the following:

  • If you have any allergy or sensitivity to specific medication, contrast medium or iodine. In such a case, you will be given the appropriate regimen so as to undergo the CT scan with safety.
  • If you suffer from renal failure (to avoid any exacerbation that might be caused due to the contrast medium). You may have to undergo a blood examination, so that your physician evaluates your renal function.
  • If you are on diabetic treatment, and mainly Metformine (Glucophage). In such a case you may be asked to interrupt your regimen for 24 hours before the test.

You should know that there are some factors that may influence the Pyelogram results. For example:

  • Recent Barium intake for some other radiological examination.
  • Large amount of gases or stool in the bowel.
  • Poor renal blood perfusion.

IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram) has radiation. In case of pregnancy, you should always inform your physician.

How is IVP performed?

You may need to have a KUB scan either as an outpatient or as a hospital inpatient. Your physician will explain to you the procedure and answer any questions you may have related to the Test. The procedure is as follows:

  • You will be asked to take off your clothes, jewellery, belts or other accessories from the abdominal region that could influence the test results.
  • A venocatheter will be placed in your arm.
  • You will be asked to lie on your back on a special radiology table.
  • An X-ray apparatus will be placed in front of your abdomen, while a special kit containing the tape with the film will be placed behind your back.
  • The contrast medium will be administered through the venocatheter. You may instantly feel some hot flash, metallic taste in your mouth, headache, pruritus, nausea and/or tendency to vomiting.  However, these reactions usually subside within a few minutes.
  • The lab technician will hide behind a special protective partition.
  • When asked, you should remain absolutely still. Some seconds later, you will be informed about the completion of the examination. The same X-ray procedure will be repeated at regular time intervals.
  • In the end, you will be asked to go to the toilet to urinate and come back for the last X-ray to be taken, in order to evaluate whether your bladder fully empties or not.
  • The procedure is absolutely painless.
  • Once the examination is completed, you can get dressed and leave the laboratory.

Following the Intravenous Pyelogram, you can resume to your daily activities -unless your physician recommends elsewise. Inform your physician right away if one of the following occurs within the next 24 hours:

  • Fever and/or shivering.
  • Hematuria
  • Nausea, pruritus.

How are IVP results interpreted?

If there is any pathological finding, your physician will inform you about this. You will be given additional instructions and information about the therapeutic options that are available and indicated for your case. In some cases, you may be recommended to undergo more specific screening (CT scan, Cystoscopy etc).