At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
An intravenous pyelogram is a x-ray test used to examine organs of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, ureter, and urethra. A contrast dye is typically inserted into the veins to highlight the organs being observed. There are many reasons this test may be given, including to detect suspected abnormalities in the urinary system, ranging from kidney stones to tumors.
Most people have two kidneys. Their primary purpose is to make urine and filter blood. Urine exits the kidneys and enters the bladder through the ureters. After traveling into the bladder, urine is stored there until it is full, then the urine is released from the urethra. Any disturbance in the normal flow of the urinary system may signal a problem.
The intravenous pyelogram test can lead to the discovery of many possible conditions, including malformations of the bladder, kidneys, or other urinary organs. Kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, tumors, and other causes for not being able to empty the bladder properly may also be detected through an intravenous pyelogram. Individuals enduring consistent problems such as lower back pain, urinary tract infections, and blood in the urine may be advised to undergo this test, as such problems could indicate a serious underlying condition.
When preparing for an intravenous pyelogram, it is important to reveal certain information prior to having the test. As it is an x-ray test, it would be necessary to inform the doctor if the individual having the test is pregnant. Contrast dye is usually used during the procedure, so the patient should inform her doctor of any previous allergic reaction to a contrast dye. Any other needed information regarding preparation will typically be provided by the physician advising the test.
This is generally an outpatient procedure, which means the patient is typically released to go home after testing is completed. During the test, a paper gown may be given to wear. Most of the time, all jewelery will need to be removed. The patient will generally lie flat on the back to begin the test, although positions may be altered throughout to obtain the needed x-ray pictures.
The patient typically rests comfortably while the test is being performed. Some individuals may experience a metallic taste in the mouth or sensation of warmth as the contrast dye is entering the blood stream. Many individuals may be completely unaffected and not experience any discomfort at all. A radiologist will interpret the findings from an intravenous pyelogram and will forward the results to the physician requesting the test.
The referring doctor will usually discuss the results of the intravenous pyelogram as soon as they are available. Most patients have no lasting side effects from the test. Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. If any abnormalities, such as a rash, blood in the urine, fever, or nausea, develop after the test, a physician should be consulted immediately.