Excretory Urogram Intravenous Pyelogram

Overview & Description

An intravenous pylogram is a test that uses x-rays to look at the structure and function of the urinary system. X-rays consist of electromagnetic waves of energy. The X-rays penetrate the body to varying extents depending on the density of the structures being viewed. The result is black and white images of interior portions of the body.

Who is a candidate for the test?

Reasons for having an intravenous pyelogram include:

  • infection
  • blood in the urine
  • pain in the mid or lower back
  • pain in the abdomen
  • injury to the kidneys
  • suspicion of cancer
  • mass in the abdomen
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • postoperative follow-up
  • How is the test performed?

    Before having the test, the individual needs to undress completely and put on an exam gown. He or she will lie on the x-ray table facing up. The technologist will take a “scout” x-ray, which is an x-ray taken to identify exactly where the kidneys and bladder are located. A large dose of iodinated contrast material, or dye, is injected into a vein in the arm. The order in which x-rays are taken will depend on the problem being investigated. Six or seven pictures are usually taken. These may be combined with another imaging technique that views the kidney in slices like bread, which is called a kidney tomogram. Toward the end of the session, the person empties his or her bladder. A final picture is taken is taken after urination.

    When the test is performed on children or pregnant women it is shorter and includes fewer pictures. The technologist will look at the pictures. If they are okay, the person is free to leave.

    Preparation & Expectations

    What is involved in preparation for the test?

    The night before the test, the person will be asked to take 8 ounces of citrate of magnesia. He or she should not eat within 4 hours or drink within 2 hours of the exam. Upon reaching the hospital, the person will need to remove all jewelry and metal objects. Individuals are required to sign a consent form that asks about pregnancy and allergies, especially to iodine. Right before the test, the person will empty his or her bladder. Preparation may vary slightly from place to place, so an individual should check with the doctor or hospital for specific instructions.

    Results and Values

    What do the test results mean?

    The x-ray pictures can show:

  • kidney stones
  • abnormal calcifications, or hardening of tissue because of calcium deposits
  • blockages
  • tumors, either cancerous or non-cancerous
  • injuries
  • bladder abnormalities
  • abnormalities of kidneys that are the source of high blood pressure
  • structural abnormalities that have been present from birth
  • enlarged prostate
  • postoperative follow up results
  • Article type: xmedgeneral