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Intravenous Pyelogram (cont.)

How do I prepare for an intravenous pyelogram?

The intravenous pyelogram may be performed as an emergency procedure or on an outpatient basis. In most cases, the IVP becomes an emergency procedure because you might arrive at the emergency department with symptoms (usually pain in the back and abdomen) that suggest a blockage to the flow of urine through the ureter. In this case, there is usually no time to "prepare" the bowel before the test is done.

  • The emergency department staff will draw blood and start an IV line. The IV will be used to give medication to alleviate pain, nausea, and vomiting and to administer fluids as well as the dye used in the test. Your urine will be tested for abnormalities. While waiting for the IVP to be done, you should be lying down and resting, without any pain or discomfort.
  • In non-emergency cases, typically you would go to the doctor's office with a complaint that suggests a problem with the kidneys, ureters, or bladder. The doctor might believe that an IVP would help in making the diagnosis but may not require that it be done immediately. In that case, you will need to prepare for the test. Preparation will involve the use of laxatives and, in some cases, enemas to cleanse the bowel of stool. Additionally, you are usually asked not to eat for 8-12 hours before the test is done.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2016
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