What is a capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is also known as pill-camera or wireless endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause of recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bleeding or anaemia, where other diagnostic procedures failed to determine the reason for your symptoms.
In certain gastrointestinal diseases, capsule endoscopy can also evaluate the extent to which your small bowel is involved or monitor the effects of therapy.
How is a capsule endoscopy performed?
The Northern Endoscopy Centre uses a capsule (the size of a large pill), which contains a tiny camera, batteries, light source and transmitter. After swallowing, the capsule travels like a piece of food through the gastrointestinal system. It provides
high-resolution images of the stomach and small intestine, taking three images per second for up to 11 hours, which significantly increases the chances of observing all the findings as the capsule passes through the gastrointestinal tract.
A wide belt with sensors attached will be placed around your abdomen, this is connected to a data recorder (receiver) that you wear on a separate belt around your waist. You will swallow the capsule with a glass of water. It is not necessary for you to stay at the hospital for the entire day. Once you have swallowed the capsule you can leave the hospital. You will be
required to keep the belt on until the batteries deplete (approx. 10-12 hrs).
For the first 6 hours after swallowing the capsule, you MUST drink 250mls of water every half hour, this will help transmit the capsule images. You may also eat a light meal 6 hours after swallowing the capsule. An additional information sheet will be provided to you on the day of your procedure containing more detailed instructions about what to do during your capsule endoscopy.
What happens after the Capsule endoscopy is performed?
At the end of the procedure, when all the lights have gone out approximately 10-12 hours after swallowing the capsule the data recorder (receiver) and sensor belt can be removed. All equipment is to be returned to the hosptial the next day, before 12 Noon. The pictures obtained during your procedure will be downloaded onto a computer for the doctor to review. The capsule is disposable and passes naturally in a bowel movement, typically within about 24 hours. You will most likely be unaware of its passage.