Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)

When your child is scheduled for a radiology test, both you and your child may have questions about it. We encourage parents to read this information, then talk about the test with your child.

What is an intravenous pyelogram (IVP)?

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a test that determines how the kidneys and ureters function. The kidneys produce urine, which is then drained through the ureters into the bladder.

How is the test performed?

A technologist will take you and your child into a changing room, where your child will put on a hospital gown. In the exam room, your child will lie on the table. An X-ray may be taken of your child’s abdominal area. A radiologist, technologist, or nurse will inject some contrast material into your child’s arm or hand. The injection might hurt for an instant. Some children experience a warm or flushed sensation as the fluid is injected.

The contrast fluid travels through the body to the kidneys and allows the kidneys, ureters, and bladder to be viewed more easily. After the injection, the technologist will immediately take an X-ray, and then every few minutes, according to the radiologist’s instructions, the technologist will take additional X-rays.

After the technologist has completed the X-ray series, a radiologist will check the films to make sure they are complete before you and your child leave the hospital. The radiologist will review the X-rays and send the report to your child’s doctor.

How do I tell my child about this test?

Because you know your child best, explain this test to your child in a way that he will understand before you come to Children’s. The staff also will explain the procedure to you and your child before and during the test.

Will it hurt?

For many children, the most important thing to know is whether or not this test will hurt. Assure your child that although there may be some discomfort, it will only last a few minutes. Remind your child that this test is being done to help the doctor find out how her body is working inside. By talking about the test with your child, you may help her be more comfortable during the test, which will make the procedure easier for your child and you.

Does my child have to do anything different before the test?

Your child may not eat or drink anything (including water) for 4 hours (3 hours if under 1 year of age) before the exam. The test itself takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

What can my child expect after the test?

The injection site might be sore or slightly bruised. A warm pack will help provide relief. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids and resume normal activity and diet.

General radiology requirements

  • Pregnant mothers: Women who are pregnant can’t be in the exam room. They must have a family member or friend over the age of 18 accompany their child into the examination room during the exam (with the exception of the ultrasound rooms and nuclear medicine).
  • Family or friends under the age of 18 years old: If you are not the patient and under the age of 18 years old you will not be allowed to remain in the radiology exam room during the exam.
  • Siblings: Siblings are not allowed in the radiology room while the exam is being performed (with the exception of the ultrasound rooms). Please make arrangements to have an adult accompany them in the waiting room.
  • Attire: Children wearing clothing with snaps or buttons will need to change into hospital attire. Any item such as jewelry, undergarments with metal, or EKG patches in affected area will be removed prior to the exam.