Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) factsheet


An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a scan used to look at the urinary system and check how well it works.

The urinary system includes:

  • the kidneys – the organs that filter waste from the blood, turning it into urine or wee
  • the ureters – thin tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder
  • the bladder – where urine is stored
  • the urethra – the tube that takes urine out of the body.

An IVP is a type of fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is where many X-ray images are taken and put together to make a moving picture of how the organs work.

 Before the test

You will get instructions from the hospital or your child’s doctor on preparing for the IVP. This will include information like:

  • when to stop eating
  • when to drink clear fluids
  • whether your child needs to take or stop any medication.

In an IVP, a substance called contract is passed through the body to help the urinary system show up on images.

Contrast can cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis in some children.

Make sure to tell your child’s treatment team and the staff booking the scan if your child has:

  • any allergies
  • any history of anaphylaxis
  • any kidney problems.

 During the test

Generally, the steps involved in the IVP are:

  1. your child will lie down on an x-ray table with an overhead camera
  2. a thin tube called an intravenous (IV) cannula is inserted into a vein in your child’s arm 
  3. the doctor will inject the contrast fluid into the IV cannula or directly into your child’s arm
  4. your child may have a warm feeling in their body and a funny taste in their mouth when the contrast goes into their body
  5. x-ray images are taken to show the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.

The IVP takes between half an hour to two hours to complete.

 After the test

Your child’s treatment team will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow after the scan is finished.

In most cases, your child should be able to return to normal eating and play afterwards.

Your child’s doctor will make a follow-up appointment to check the scan results with you.

Last updated Monday 11th December 2023


This factsheet is provided for general information only. It does not constitute health advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health condition.

Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you and/or your child.

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network does not accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, the interpretation of the information, or for success or appropriateness of any treatment described in the factsheet.

© Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network 2024