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Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) patient information

An X-ray examination of the urinary system

Your understanding the treatments and tests you receive are very important to everyone at Community Howard Regional Health System. Therefore, this information is meant to acquaint you with standard procedures followed in a routine IVP (intravenous pyelogram). It provides you with the basic facts and information about this test. Read the material, share it with your family and ask any clarifying questions of the nurse or technologist.


An IVP is an x-ray examination of the urinary system including the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. A special contrast solution, administered through an IV in your arm, will circulate through your blood and be excreted by your kidneys. This contrast solution will show up on your x-rays and will enable the doctor to determine how well your kidneys are functioning and if there is any physical abnormality present.


Please obtain one bottle of magnesium citrate and one box of Dulcolax suppositories from any pharmacy (over-the-counter, no prescription required) and then follow the instructions below.

The day before the test

  1. Your diet will be restricted to clear liquids. Liquids are considered clear if they can be held up to the light and seen through. This can include clear fruit juices, clear soup, plain black coffee, tea, and JELL-O.
  2. Drink a lot of fluid that day. Drink no less than one 8 oz. glass of water every 2 hours from noon to midnight.
    1. At 4:00 PM- drink one bottle of magnesium citrate over ice, follow with 8 oz. water
      adults (12 years and older) – 10 fluid oz. Or 1 whole bottle
      children 11-6 years old – 7 fluid oz.
      children 5-2 years old – 3 fluid oz.
  3. At 5:00 PM- dinner- clear liquids of any amount. You are not to eat, drink, smoke or chew gum after midnight.
  4. Insert one Dulcolax suppository at least one hour before bedtime.

The day of the test

  1. Do not eat breakfast before your x-ray. Drink 1 12 oz glasses of water.
  2. Insert one Dulcolax suppository at least one hour before leaving home.
  3. Have nothing else to eat, drink, smoke or chew gum until after the exam.
  4. Necessary medications may be taken with a sip of water. You may brush your teeth but avoid swallowing any water.


  1. Arrive at Community Howard Regional Health System’s Registration Department 30 minutes prior to your appointment time.
  2. You will be asked to put on a special gown without snaps and to remove all jewelry. Do not wear undergarments because they may have buttons, snaps or elastic that will show up on x-rays.
  3. You will be placed on an x-ray table and asked to lie flat on your back. An x-ray picture or series of x-ray pictures will be taken of your abdomen.
  4. A contrast solution will be injected through the IV in your arm. You may experience a brief warm sensation or metallic taste in your mouth when this contrast solution is injected.
  5. Several pictures will be taken as this contrast moves through your urinary tract. You may be asked to empty your bladder for a final picture to determine bladder function.
  6. When the procedure is completed and the pictures are checked by the radiologist you will be free to leave the facility.
  7. The radiologist will review your pictures and report the findings to your doctor that will discuss the results with you and explain what they mean to your health.

Your comfort during this procedure is very important to the staff at Community Howard Regional Health System. Please let the technologist know if there is something that can be done to make you more comfortable during this procedure. If you have other questions not answered here, please don’t hesitate to call the Imaging Services Department at (765) 453-8413. Thank you for allowing us to service your healthcare needs.

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