Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) is simply an X-ray that provides contrast imaging. A contrast agent, often barium or iodine, is intravenously injected into the patient’s bloodstream prior to imaging. An IVP X-ray is used for imaging the kidneys, ureter or bladder. The contrast substance has an opacity that contrasts with soft tissue, radiography, and topography. An IVP X-ray is minimally invasive and can detect abnormities as serious as cancer or as common as kidney stones. Contrasts of the areas of the ureter, kidneys or bladder that are being X-rayed show up bright white, making abnormalities easily detected.
The contrast in the IVP X-ray assists the radiologist peruse the urinary tract. Kidney stones, an enlarged prostate and other anomalies within the urinary tract are detected.
How to Prepare
In the case of a non-emergency IVP X-ray, the patient will prep for the test by cleansing the bowels and fasting, only taking in clear liquids. This may include laxatives or even an enema as prescribed by the doctor. The patient will also fast for up to 12 hours prior to the test.
What to Expect
When scheduled for an IVP X-ray, the patient rarely will be required to stay overnight. A technician will administer the contrast by injection and following this, the patient will rest quietly for a short period of time before the imaging procedure begins. The X-ray will continue as the images are spaced out in intervals from zero to 20 minutes. Images will be taken through the 20-minute mark until the kidneys and the ureter can be seen. The zero mark indicates the time of the injection.
The technician will instruct the patient on how to position themselves on the X-ray table so the machine will capture several different angles. Once all of the images are taken, the patient may be asked to empty their bladder for one last image of the empty bladder.
The patient may experience a slight burning sensation as the contrast is injected. A metallic taste in the mouth may follow soon after. These side effects are normal and only last for a short period of time. Additionally, the patient might experience a slight itching sensation; however, if itching or other symptoms persist, speak to the radiologist immediately. Allergic reactions may be treated with medications.
The reward-to-risk ratio for undergoing an IVP X-ray is very good in favor of reward. There is no leftover radiation remaining in the patient’s body following an IVP X-ray, and the likelihood of excess exposure to radiation is slim. Remember, while radiation varies from test to test the lowest radiation dose possible is used with the outcome usually being a very accurate diagnosis.
Note that women who are – or believe they might be – pregnant should not submit themselves to an IVP X-ray, and the test is seldom used on infants and children.
The friendly staff at Independent Imaging in Palm Beach County, Florida welcomes your call and looks forward to serving you. If you have any questions about our imaging services in Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth, or Royal Palm Beach please call (561) 795-5558. To schedule an appointment, you can call us or use our secure online appointment request form.