Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule Endoscopy

Salmaan A. Jawaid, MD

David R. Cave, MD

Video endoscopic capsules (PillCam, Medtronic, MN, USA; EC-10, Olympus America, PA; Mirocam, South Korea; and CapsoCam, Capsovision, CA) can be swallowed and images obtained from the entire small bowel without the need for sedation.1 Individual digital images are transmitted out of the body by radio frequency to a recording device worn about the patient’s waist (PillCam and EC-10 use human body conduction and CapsoCam capsule is recovered from the fecal stream). The images are processed and viewed as a video on a computer workstation after completion of the study.


The typical timing of a capsule exam is to begin the study at 8 AM. with completion of the study at 4 PM. This allows 8 hours of image acquisition during one working day. However, most manufactures now have capsules with a battery life of more than 12 hours, so the capsule recorder may be returned the following day.

  • 1. Instruct the patient to present on the morning of the exam after a 12-hour fast. Some facilities use a 2 L polyethylene glycol preparation the night before.

  • 2. Discontinue oral iron supplementation 3 days prior to the exam.

  • 3. Advise them not to take medications, antacids, or sucralfate, since they can coat the intestinal lining, limiting visualization. Narcotics and antispasmodics can delay both gastric and intestinal emptying, making it difficult to visualize the entire small bowel during the 8-hour acquisition time.

  • 4. Instruct patients to bring their medications with them to take during the day, if necessary. If a patient is diabetic, insulin doses may need to be adjusted.

  • 5. Anticoagulants do not need to be stopped prior to the exam.

  • 6. Instruct the patient to wear loose clothing on the day of the exam. Dresses should be avoided. A buttoned shirt and loose-fitting pants work best.

  • 7. Charge the recorder’s battery the evening prior to the study.

  • 8. Bowel preparation may improve the quality of small bowel visualization but has minimal to no effect on transit times or visualization of the cecum, thus is not recommended.9

May 29, 2020 | Posted by in GASTROENTEROLOGY | Comments Off on Capsule Endoscopy

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