Intravenous pyelogram or IVP is a diagnostic test that refers to an X ray exam of kidneys, bladder and ureters. This test is also known as excretory urogram and is essentially performed to assess disorders related to the urinary tract.
IVP test is performed by injecting iodinated contrast dye into the patient's veins. It enters the blood stream and pools in the kidneys and the urinary tract thus producing brighter images of the organs. As the dye travels through the urinary system, the IVP test provides useful information regarding the functioning of the kidneys, bladder and ureters. Any delay in the fluid flow indicates blockage in the urinary system. Intravenous pyelogram is performed to diagnose the following disorders:
- Blockage or obstruction in the normal flow of urine.
- Kidney stone or bladder stone
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Injuries and congenital disorders of the urinary tract
- Kidney tumor
As the dye travels through the urinary system, a series of x-ray images are taken at frequent intervals. The visualization of the fluid flow will help understand the efficiency of the kidney functioning and as well as to diagnose the obstruction, if any.
Before the procedure
1.Patient should not consume any food 5 to 6 hours prior to the procedure. The day before the procedure, patient may be given a laxative to clear the bowels.
2. Pregnant women must not take this test.
3. Diabetic patients should inform the doctor about their medical condition and adjust their insulin dosage as per the instructions given by the doctor.
4. If the patient is allergic to coloring agents, the same should be informed to the doctor so that an anti-allergic medication is prescribed to be taken before the procedure.
Risks of Intravenous pyelogram
IVP is a safe procedure and there are rarely any complications associated with the intravenous pyelogram. Yet on few occasions, a patient may experience hot flushes, itching, nausea and vomiting. Very rarely patient develops allergic reaction to the dye and may experience breathing difficulty, choking sensation and swelling of the lips and tongue. Blood pressure may drop to alarming levels and patient may also lose consciousness.
Lithotripsy is a medical procedure wherein shock waves are used to break up kidney stones, ureter or bladder. Extra corporeal shock wave lithotripsy is the most commonly used type. The shock wave is termed extra corporeal as the shock wave is generated outside the body. It is a non-invasive technique. This procedure is used when the stone is too large to pass out on its own or if the stone is stuck in the ureter.
Prior to the treatment the following is followed:
- Complete physical examination
- Urine analysis
- Blood test
- IVP: intravenous pyelogram is used to locate the stone and understand the extent of blockage
- ECG for people with history of heart problems
Patient is made to lie down on a comfortable cushion/bed (usually water-filled). A mild sedative, pain killer and antibiotics are administered before the procedure so as to prevent any kind of discomfort, pain or infection. High energy sound waves pass through the body until they hit upon the kidney stone. The machine through which the waves is passed is called as the lithotripter. The kidney stone is broken into several pieces by the wave. The broken stone debris is called gravel. This gravel passes out while urinating. Usually there is no damage to skin or other internal organs as the shock waves are not focused on them. Generally after lithotripsy, people tend to bleed while urinating. This is common and will stop on its own. People who have undergone the procedure should drink plenty of water so as to flush the gravel out. A few patients may report abdominal pain which subsides on its own after a few days. If the symptoms persist, it is suggested that the patient visit the physician.
Lithotripsy should not be performed on people with skeletal deformities, persons with uncontrolled bleeding and pregnant women. Some of the possible side-effects include:
- Kidney infection
- Ulcers in the stomach or small intestine.
- Pieces of the stone may block free urine passage.
- Pieces of stone might be left behind in the body.
- Bleeding (internal)
- Very rarely stones do not get completely fragmented during the first time and so the procedure might have to be repeated again.
A kidney stone or renal calculus is a crystal concentration formed in the kidneys. Nephrolithiasis is formed from the minerals consumed in the diet and is largely composed of calcium. 75% of kidney stones are calcium stones. While Struvite stones are more commonly noticed in women, Uric acid stone can occur in men and women. Typically men are more affected by kidney stones than women. In most cases, the kidney stones are expelled by the body in the urine and no symptoms are noticed. But as the kidney stone grows in size, it can lead to pain and other symptoms. This is because of the obstruction to the ureters. A person suffering kidney stones feels pain in the area between the ribs and hip or lower abdomen and groin. Intermittent pain or renal colic is felt in spasms. It is sometimes accompanied by fever, blood and pus in the urine and pain on urination. There might be nausea and vomiting. There might be abnormal color of the urine.
Some foods that might increase the risk of kidney stone formation are refined sugars, sodium, vast quantities of animal protein and cola. Inadequate consumption of water adds to the risk factors. Those taking calcium supplements might also notice higher incidences of renal stone formation. This does not happen with high consumption of dietary calcium. Sodium, Uric acid and sulfurous amino acids also contribute to the formation of kidney stones. On the other hand, magnesium and potassium reduce urinary crystal formation by excreting citrate. Those with a family history of kidney stones are at higher risk of renal stones. Persons suffering kidney disorders, UTI and cystic kidney disease are also susceptible to kidney stones. Hyperoxaluria is a condition where the body produces too much oxalate. When this quantity is too large to be dissolved in urine, it leads to the formation of renal stones.
Ultrasound is done to confirm the presence of kidney stones. X-rays and IVP (intravenous pyelogram) aid in imaging the renal stone. Kidney function test and blood tests are also done. The size of kidney stones can range from a small grain of sand to a pearl. It can be smooth or jagged. Over time, renal stones can cause irreversible kidney damage. Most small stones in the kidney do not need treatment or removal. But if the kidney stones cause urine blockage, bleeding, infection or keep growing in size, they need to be removed. Some kidney stones, especially those consisting of uric acid or cystine can be treated with medicines. Else endoscopic removal of kidney stones with a uterescope is done. Lithotripsy is often used to break the stone into smaller pieces so that they can be flushed with the urine.