Fluoroscopic IVP

What is Fluoroscopic IVP?

A fluoroscopic IVP is a type of x-ray exam that is used to look at the urinary tract. For the procedure, a contrast dye is injected into the arm vein, which then flows to the ureters and bladder, outlining each structure. The intravenous pyelogram specifically assesses issues with the kidneys, bladder, and tubes that transport urine from your kidneys to your bladder (ureters). Conditions a fluoroscopic IVP might pick up include kidney stones, gallbladder stones, enlarged prostate, kidney cysts, or tumors in the urinary tract.

What Does a Fluoroscopic IVP Do?

A fluoroscopic IVP is used to assess your urinary tract, and detect any issues with the size, shape, or functioning of the structures. Your doctor may recommend an intravenous pyelogram if you’ve complained of consistent side or lower back pain, or if there is blood in your urine. It is possible that the pain could be related to a urinary tract disorder or condition. Fluoroscopic IVP uses x-ray technology to view the different structures of the urinary tract. It is a helpful diagnostic tool that can identify issues with structural urinary tract disorders, kidney stones, and provides information about urinary tract obstruction.

How Should You Prepare for a Fluoroscopic IVP?

There are a few ways you can prepare for your fluoroscopic IVP. Before your test, make sure to let your doctor know if any of the following applies to you:

  • You have an allergy to contrast dye, specifically iodine
  • There is a possibility you could be pregnant 
  • If you are taking any prescription or OTC medications, specifically blood thinners, Aspirin, or Metformin

Your doctor may also recommend that you take a mild laxative and not eat or drink the night before your test.

What to Expect During a Fluoroscopic IVP Test?

Before getting on the x-ray table, you will need to do a few things to prepare for your test. Preparation steps include:

  • Remove all clothing items and wear the hospital gown that is provided
  • Remove all jewelry (including piercings), eyeglasses, other accessories, and any metal items
  • Urinate to ensure your bladder is empty before the test

For your exam, the procedure includes:

  • A patient will lie on their back and be positioned for the x-ray machine
  • X-ray images are taken of the urinary tract before any contrast dye has been injected
  • A contrast dye (iodine) is injected into a vein in your arm, which will flow down into the ureters and bladder, outlining each structure
  • X-ray images are taken at timed intervals as the contrast flows through your kidneys to your ureters and bladder
  • Near the end of the exam, you may be asked to urinate so images can be taken of your empty bladder

After the fluoroscopic IVP is finished, the IV line is removed, and the patient may resume all normal activities.

What Conditions are Diagnosed with Fluoroscopic IVP?

Although the test itself is less common than it used to be, the fluoroscopic IVP is still used to diagnose several different conditions. It is less commonly used because other tests that take less time and don’t require contrast dye are readily available. When a fluoroscopic IVP is administered, it can be used to diagnose the following conditions:

  • Kidney stones
  • Bladder stones
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Kidney cysts
  • Urinary tract tumors
  • Structural kidney disorders (medullary sponge kidney)

Results and Follow-Up

After your exam, a radiologist will read the images and write an analysis. The report will be sent to your primary care provider. You will need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor so he or she can go over the results with you.

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • How quickly will I get the results?
  • What is my prognosis and treatment plan moving forward?
  • Are there any risk factors?