IVP stands for intravenous pyelogram, which is an X-ray examination of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra.
IVP uses a contrast material or dye that is injected into the vein. X-rays are used to help visualize the passage of the dye through the urinary tract and assess its function.
What is an IVP used for?
An IVP may be done to assess your condition when you present with the following symptoms:
- Difficulty passing urine
- Painful urination
- Poor urine stream
- Flank or low back pain
- Hematuria (blood in urine)
- Cloudy urine
- Swelling over the feet or legs
An IVP may be done to rule out urinary tract infections or injuries in the case of an abdominal trauma. An IVP helps the doctor assess the following:
- Size of the kidneys
- Position of the kidneys
- Presence of abnormal masses such as growths, cysts, or stones
- Symmetry of the ureters
- Ureter obstruction
- Thickening or scarring of the urinary tract
- Abnormalities in the inner wall of the ureter or urinary bladder
IVPs can therefore help with diagnosing the following conditions:
- Stones in the urinary tract
- Tumors in the urinary tract
- Enlarged prostate (benign or cancerous)
- Scarring due to a urinary tract infection
- Structural abnormalities of the urinary tract
- Kidney cysts
- Bladder or ureteral diverticula (abnormal folds or pouches in the wall of the urinary bladder or ureter)
What happens during an IVP?
An intravenous pyelogram is usually done as an outpatient procedure in the doctor’s office or the radiology department of a hospital.
Before the procedure
- Your doctor will take a detailed history of symptoms and ask about any health conditions you may have (such as diabetes or kidney and heart diseases), current medications, and drug allergies.
- Your doctor will tell you when and what you can eat or drink before the procedure.
- You may need to take certain medications to empty your bowels for better visualization of the urinary tract.
During the procedure
- You will lie down on the procedure table and be given an intravenous injection that contains the contrast material in your arm or hand.
- You may feel temporary warmth or a burning sensation in your arm and a metallic taste in your mouth when the dye is injected.
- Your doctor may ask you to change positions during the procedure.
- As the dye travels through your veins, it will enter the blood vessels in the kidneys (renal vasculature) and filter through them.
- The dye will then pass through the ureters into the urinary bladder.
- X-rays will be taken as the dye takes its course through the renal vasculature and urinary tract.
- You will be asked to urinate at the end of the procedure.
- Your doctor will take an X-ray after you have emptied your bladder.
After the procedure
Is an IVP safe?
An IVP is generally a safe procedure. However, while the amount of X-rays used is safe for most people, pregnant women should avoid that much radiation. Some doctors may advise against an IVP if you have high creatinine levels.
Side effects of IVP may include:
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