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Intravenous Pyelogram

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Intravenous Pyelogram

(IVP; Excretory Urography; Intravenous Urography [IVU])


An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an x-ray of the urinary tract that uses a contrast material to highlight the flow of urine.

Normal Anatomy of the Kidney

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Reasons for Test

An IVP is done to look for:

  • The cause of blood in urine
  • Tumors
  • Kidney stones or bladder stones
  • Damage to the urinary tract from injury or infection
  • Other problems that are causing kidney or bladder problems

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Allergy to iodine or shellfish
  • Blood disorders
  • Poor kidney function
  • Taking certain medicines

Pregnant women should not have this test.

What to Expect

Prior to test

The care team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the test
  • Fasting before the test, such as avoiding food and drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from the test
  • Cleaning out the colon before the test to make it easier to see problems during the test

Description of the Test

An IV will be placed and the contrast material and any needed medicine will be passed through it. You will lie on a table for 30 to 60 minutes. X-rays will be taken at regular intervals. This will allow the doctor to see these body parts at work to find out where problems may be happening. You will be asked to hold your breath each time an x-ray is taken. You will also be asked to empty your bladder in a bathroom before the last x-ray.

After Test

You can return to normal activity and resume eating and drinking.

How Long Will It Take?

About 60 to 90 minutes

Will It Hurt?

This test will not hurt. The body may feel warm when the contrast material is given through the IV.


It may take a few days to get test results. The doctor will talk to you about the results and how it may affect treatment.

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching or a skin rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Complicated urinary tract infection (UTI). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP). Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at:
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.