Intravenous pyelogram

Intravenous pyelogram
Intravenous pyelogram

An Example of an IVU radiograph
ICD-9-CM 87.73
OPS-301 code: 3-13d.0

An intravenous pyelogram (also known as IVP, pyelography, intravenous urogram or IVU) is a radiological procedure used to visualize abnormalities of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.



An injection of x-ray contrast medium is given to a patient via a needle or cannula into the vein, typically in the arm. The contrast is excreted or removed from the bloodstream via the kidneys, and the contrast media becomes visible on x-rays almost immediately after injection. X-rays are taken at specific time intervals to capture the contrast as it travels through the different parts of the urinary system. This gives a comprehensive view of the patient's anatomy and some information on the functioning of the renal system.

Normal Appearances

Immediately after the contrast is administered, it appears on an x-ray as a 'renal blush'. This is the contrast being filtered through the cortex. At an interval of 3 minutes, the renal blush is still evident (to a lesser extent) but the calyces and renal pelvis are now visible. At 9 – 13 minutes the contrast begins to empty into the ureters and travel to the bladder which has now begun to fill. To visualize the bladder correctly, a post micturition x-ray is taken, so that the bulk of the contrast (which can mask a pathology) is emptied.

An IVP can be performed in either emergency or routine circumstances.

Emergency IVP

This procedure is carried out on patients who present to an Emergency department, usually with severe renal colic and a positive hematuria test. In this circumstance the attending physician requires to know whether a patient has a kidney stone and if it is causing any obstruction in the urinary system.

Patients with a positive find for kidney stones but with no obstruction are usually discharged with a follow-up appointment with a urologist.

Patients with a kidney stone and obstruction are usually required to stay in hospital for monitoring or further treatment.

An Emergency IVP is carried out roughly as follows:

  • plain KUB or Abdominal x-ray;
  • an injection of contrast media, typically 50 ml;
  • delayed Abdominal x-ray, taken at roughly 15 minutes post injection.

If no obstruction is evident on this film a post-micturition film is taken and the patient is sent back to the Emergency department. If an obstruction is visible, a post-micturition film is still taken, but is followed up with a series of radiographs taken at a "double time" interval. For example, at 30 minutes post-injection, 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, and so forth, until the obstruction is seen to resolve. This time delay can give important information to the urologist on where and how severe the obstruction is.

Routine IVP

This procedure is most common for patients who have unexplained microscopic or macroscopic hematuria. It is used to ascertain the presence of a tumour or similar anatomy-altering disorders. The sequence of images are roughly as follows:

  • plain or Control KUB image;
  • immediate x-ray of just the renal area;
  • 5 minute x-ray of just the renal area.

At this point, compression may or may not be applied (this is contraindicated in cases of obstruction).

  • If compression is applied: a 10 minutes post-injection x-ray of the renal area is taken, followed by a KUB on release of the compression.
  • If compression is not given: a standard KUB is taken to show the ureters emptying. This may sometimes be done with the patient lying in a prone position.
  • A post-micturition x-ray is taken afterwards. This is usually a coned bladder view.

Image Assessment

The kidneys are assessed and compared for:

  • Regular appearance, smooth outlines, size, position, equal filtration and flow.

The ureters are assessed and compared for:

  • Size, a smooth regular and symmetrical appearance. A 'standing column' is suggestive of a partial obstruction.

The bladder is assessed for:

  • Regular smooth appearance and complete voiding.


Historically, the drug metformin has been required to stop 48 hours pre and post procedure, as it known to cause a reaction with the contrast agent. However the newest guidelines published by the Royal College of Radiologists suggests this is not as important for patients having <100mls of contrast, who have a normal renal function. If renal impairment is found before administration of the contrast, metformin should be stopped 48 hours before and after the procedure.[1]


Other tests

An IVP can and should be used in conjunction with the following tests:


Depending on the outcome and diagnosis following an IVP, treatment may be required for the patient. These include surgery, lithotripsy, ureteric stent insertion and radiofrequency ablation. Sometimes no treatment is necessary as stones <5mm can be passed without any intervention.

The Future of the intravenous pyelogram

The IVP is now becoming more and more obsolete. It has largely been taken over by Computed tomography (CT), which gives greater detail on anatomy and function.

See also


  1. ^ Thomsen HS, Morcos SK, and members of the Contrast Media Safety Committee of the European Society of Urogenital Radiology. Contrast media and metformin. Guidelines to distinguish the risk of lactic acidosis in non-insulin dependent diabetics after administration of contrast media.European Radiology, 1999; 9: 738-740.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Intravenous pyelogram — An x ray of the kidneys and urinary tract. Structures are made visible by the injection of a substance that blocks x rays. Also called IVP. * * * intravenous pyelogram n a pyelogram in which radiographic visualization is obtained after… …   Medical dictionary

  • intravenous pyelogram — /ɪntəˌvinəs paɪˈɛləgræm/ (say intuh.veenuhs puy eluhgram) noun a series of X rays taken of the urinary system, after intravenous injection of a radiopaque medium. Abbrev.: IVP –intravenous pyelography, noun …  

  • intravenous pyelogram — noun X ray picture of the kidneys and ureters after injection of a radiopaque dye • Syn: ↑IVP • Hypernyms: ↑pyelogram …   Useful english dictionary

  • intravenous pyelogram — IVP. A series of x rays of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. The x rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters, and bladder on the x rays. Also called IVP… …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • Pyelogram — can refer to: * Intravenous pyelogram * Retrograde pyelogram …   Wikipedia

  • pyelogram — noun an X ray of the kidneys and ureters • Hypernyms: ↑roentgenogram, ↑X ray, ↑X ray, ↑X ray picture, ↑X ray photograph • Hyponyms: ↑intravenous pyelogram, ↑IVP * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • intravenous urogram — (IVU) a succession of X ray images of the urinary tract following the injection into a vein of a contrast medium; this was formerly called an intravenous pyelogram (IVP). The medium is concentrated and excreted by the kidneys, and the IVU reveals …   Medical dictionary

  • intravenous pyelography — IVP. X ray study of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. The x rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters, and bladder on the x rays. Also called IVP and… …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • Пиелограмма Внутривенная (Intravenous Pyelogram, Ivp) — ряд последовательных рентгенограмм мочевыводящих путей, которые делаются после введения в вену йодосодержащего вещества (не пропускающего рентгеновские лучи). Это вещество накапливается в почках и выводится из них, а внутривенная Пиелограмма… …   Медицинские термины

  • Retrograde pyelogram — is a urologic procedure where the physician injects contrast into the ureter in order to visualize the ureter and kidney. The flow of contrast (up from the bladder to the kidney) is opposite the usual flow of urine, hence the retrograde name.… …   Wikipedia

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