Quick Guide: Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) X-rays

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What are IVP X-rays and why are they so important?

IVP X-rays provide pictures of the kidneys, and other components of the urinary tract such as the bladder, ureters and the urethra. An IVP shows the size, position and shape of the urinary tract and shows how well the kidneys are working.

How is an IVP done?

An IVP is usually conducted by a radiology technologist, and the images are interpreted by a specialist doctor or radiologist. During an IVP, contrast material (which is a coloured dye) is injected into a vein in your arm. A series of X-rays are taken at various time intervals to see the progress of the dye through your system. The dye travels through the bloodstream and is filtered through the kidneys and passes into the urine formed in the kidneys, which then flows into the ureters that lead to the bladder. The X-rays are developed immediately and the patient may have to turn from side to side to take a complete series of pictures.

What can be learnt from an IVP X-ray?

IVP X-rays are very useful and are commonly conducted to identify urinary tract diseases such as kidney stones, tumours or infection. It can also be used to look for congenital structure defects of the urinary tract, i.e. problems with the structure of the urinary tract present from birth. IVPs are done to find the cause of blood in urine, the cause of ongoing back pain and to look for any damage done to the urinary tract after an injury. It can be used to locate and measure kidney stones and a tumour of the urinary tract.

How to prepare for an IVP X-ray?

You will need to fast (stop eating and drinking) for 8 – 12 hours prior to the IVP. In some cases, it is advisable to take a laxative the evening before the test to ensure that your bowels are empty. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please inform the doctor

Where can I get an IVP X-ray from Western Hospital?

Western Hospital provides specialized X-ray services such as intravenous pyelogram (IVP) X-rays and has a comprehensive radiography service for general X-rays. The X-ray unit is located on the 3rd floor of the hospital and can be reached on +94 11 268 5413- EXT 136. The Department is open from 8 am – 5 pm and is on call 24 hours.