Kidney Cancer Diagnosis Intravenous Pyelogram Ivp

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) is a test used to diagnose kidney or bladder disease. In IVP, a doctor uses X-ray imaging in combination with an intravenous dye to see whether or not your kidneys and/or bladder are functioning properly.

An IVP is usually performed in an outpatient facility and typically does not usually require an overnight stay. IVP will provide your doctor with precise images of your kidneys, ureters and bladder as they process the dye that has been injected into your veins.

Preparing for an Intravenous Pyelogram

Before your IVP, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you, informing you of any potential side effects. In preparation for your IVP, inform your doctor of any medications (both over-the-counter and non-prescription) or supplements that you are taking.

You should also inform your doctor if you are or if you suspect you may be pregnant. If you are pregnant, the doctor will likely order a kidney test that will be safer for the developing fetus.

Because the dye used in IVP is iodine-based, tell your doctor prior to the test whether you have had a reaction to injected dye in the past or if you are allergic to shellfish, iodine or any medications.

If your doctor orders an IVP, you will be asked to eat lightly the day before the test and to fast on the day of the test. You may also be given a laxative to take the day before in order to clear your intestines of gas and waste.

What to Expect During an IVP

On the day of the test, you will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing and will be given a gown to wear for the duration of the test.

Next, a doctor or nurse will insert an IV into your arm, into which an iodine-based dye will be injected. Immediately after injection, some people experience:

  • a metallic taste in their mouths
  • itchiness
  • nausea
  • pain
  • weakness

These symptoms should pass fairly quickly. If you are experiencing more discomfort than you expected, inform your radiologist, as he can administer medications to relieve some of your symptoms. If you experience shortness of breath, tell the radiologist immediately. This rare side effect may indicate a dangerous reaction to the dye.

After the dye is injected, a belt or strap may be placed around your waist. Small balloons in the belt may inflate in order to put the kidneys and bladder in an optimal position for the X-ray machine. As the dye circulates through your system, the doctor will take a series of X-rays. To get images of different angles of these organs, you may be asked to change your position throughout the procedure.

Once the X-rays are finished, the doctor will review them to determine if a mass or blockage is causing your kidney problems.

After the IVP

After your IVP, you should be able to return to your normal routine and activities, unless told otherwise by your physician. You may need to increase your fluid intake to help you flush the dye from your system.

Notify your physician if you experience any of the following after your procedure:

  • blood in your urine
  • fever and/or chills
  • itchiness
  • nausea
  • redness, swelling, bleeding or other drainage from the IV site
  • severe bouts of sneezing.


Bentley-Hibbert, Stuart (2006). Intravenous pyelogram. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from the MedlinePlus Web site:

St. John’s Mercy Healthcare (2007). Tests