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Intravenous Pyelogram (cont.)

During the Procedure

You will go to the X-ray department for the IVP test. While you are lying face up on the X-ray table, dye is injected through an IV placed in a vein.

  • The X-rays are taken at several intervals, such as at 0, 5, 10, and 20 minutes. Zero time is the time of injection of the dye. The test is completed when the kidneys, ureters, and bladder show up on the X-ray. Although the dye is colorless, it makes the kidneys and ureters appear white on the X-ray so that they contrast with the background of the rest of the abdomen.
    • If, for example, the kidneys, ureters, and bladder can be seen after the 5-minute film is taken, then one last film will be taken immediately after you have urinated. If only one kidney and its ureter are seen after the 5-, 10-, and 20-minute pictures are taken, then the doctor will decide when further films should be taken. As a general rule, the interval for further films is determined by doubling the time from the last film. The time will be doubled until both kidneys and ureters can be seen.
    • For example, if only one kidney and its ureter are seen after the 20-minute picture is taken, then the next film will be done 40 minutes later. If the X-ray technician is still unable to see the kidneys after the 40-minute film, then the next test will be taken 80 minutes later.
  • Between X-rays, you are usually taken back to the emergency department to rest on a stretcher.
    • While you are waiting for the X-rays to be taken, the nurses will check frequently to ensure that you are not experiencing any pain, nausea, or vomiting and, at the same time, will check your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing to make sure that these vital signs remain normal. If you have pain, nausea, or vomiting, the nurse can give appropriate medicines through the IV to help these symptoms.
    • Most hospitals allow you to be joined by family and friends during the waiting period.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/28/2014
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