What is capsule endoscopy, and what it diagnoses?

Olga Wdowiczak
August 23, 2021

Capsule endoscopy is an examination that images the gastrointestinal tract. It is a minimally invasive procedure that can give a lot of insights into digestive system health.

Capsule endoscopy - how is it performed?

The examination is being performed using a disposable, wireless capsule with a digital camera and LED lamp. First, the patient swallows the capsule. Then, thanks to peristaltic movements, it passively passes through the gastrointestinal tract while taking pictures of the small intestine. Meanwhile, the images are transmitted to the recording device the patient wears on a belt around their waist. Capsule endoscopy usually takes around eight hours to complete. However, the device can be active for up to twelve hours, and the capsule passes through the digestive system within forty-eight hours. During the examination, you can carry out daily activities as usual. The only restrictions apply to meals consumption. You can drink clear liquids after two hours of swallowing the capsule. After four hours, you can have a usual meal and take medications if needed.

Preparation for the examination

Your doctor may advise you to follow a clear liquid diet a day before the procedure and refrain from eating for 8-12 hours before capsule endoscopy examination. Before the procedure, your doctor will guide you through all the necessary steps you need to take to prepare for it. The treatments may include drinking polyethylene glycol (PEG) and taking a medicine containing simethicone before the test. Also, there are certain medications that your doctor will notify you to stop taking. These may include iron preparations, painkillers, or mucosa-covering drugs.

Diagnostic indications for capsule endoscopy

Right now, capsule endoscopy is mainly used to diagnose disorders of the small intestine. The most common reason for testing is to find the cause of unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding. However, it is not the only indication for the examination. Others include diagnostics of:

inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn's,

intestine mucosa damage as a result of taking NSAIDs,

celiac disease,

gastrointestinal polyposis syndromes,

small intestine cancer,

radiological diagnosis of small bowel pathology requiring verification

Capsule endoscopy - is there any risk?

Capsule endoscopy is a safe, minimally-invasive examination. Therefore, the test carries a low risk of complications. Only 0,75% of the studied patients experience capsule entrapment in the gastrointestinal tract. If you are using an implantable cardiac device or insulin pump, you can safely undergo the examination. The capsule does not affect the operation of these devices. However, some conditions may increase the risk of capsule entrapment. The contraindications include swallowing disorders, abnormal peristalsis, or constriction of the intestine

BioCam Endoscopy Platform

BioCam is a company established in May 2019 and based in Wrocław, Poland. We popularize patient-friendly examination of the whole gastrointestinal tract using our own capsule endoscopy platform, based on AI technology. We believe that with our solution, capsule endoscopy will be a go-to examination of the whole gastrointestinal tract.

Follow our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to learn more about us and our solution.

If you would like to find out more about capsule endoscopy, you can click the following link.

written by
Olga Wdowiczak
Marketing Specialist, BioCam