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An intravenous pyelogram is an imaging test used to look at the kidneys and ureters. The ureters are the narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
During the test, the radiologist injects a contrast dye into one of your veins. He or she uses X-ray images to watch the contrast dye as it moves from the kidney into the ureter and then to the bladder.
Dye that moves too slowly or not at all may mean that you have a blockage in the blood flow through a kidney. It may also mean that a kidney is not working as well as it should.
This test is usually one of the first tests ordered when your healthcare provider thinks you may have kidney disease or a urinary tract problem.
X-rays use a small amount of radiation to create images of your bones and internal organs. X-rays are most often used to detect bone or joint problems, or to check the heart and lungs. An intravenous pyelogram is one type of X-ray.
This test may be done at the same time as a CT scan of the kidneys (nephrotomography). The CT scan also uses contrast dye. But it makes images that show layers or “slices” of the kidney.
Today CT and MRI scans and ultrasound are often used instead of an intravenous pyelogram.
An intravenous pyelogram can show your healthcare provider the size, shape, and structure of your kidneys, ureters, and bladder. You may need this test if your provider suspects that you have:
Your provider may also use this test to find the cause of flank pain or pain spasms in the kidney area.
A CT scan of the kidneys can help make a more accurate diagnosis of kidney tumors or kidney problems caused by trauma.
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend an antegrade pyelogram.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used during the test. Also ask about the risks as they apply to you.
Consider writing down all X-rays you get, including past scans and X-rays for other health reasons. Show this list to your provider. The risks of radiation exposure may be tied to the number of X-rays you have and the X-ray treatments you have over time.
Tell your healthcare provider if you:
Possible complications of this test also include problems urinating and urinary tract infections.
You may have other risks depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to talk with your provider about any concerns you have before the procedure.
Certain things can make this test less accurate. These include:
You may have an intravenous pyelogram as an outpatient or as part of your stay in a hospital. The way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, an IVP follows this process:
You do not need any special care after an intravenous pyelogram. You may go back to your usual diet and activities, unless your healthcare provider tells you differently.
You should keep track of how much fluid you are drinking and how urine you pass over the next day (24 hours). You may be told to drink more fluids to help flush the contrast dye from your body.
Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions, depending on your situation.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.