What is Video Capsule Endoscopy?
Video Capsule Endoscopy (VCE) is a pill-sized plastic device (11 x 26 mm) designed to examine all parts of the gastrointestinal tract. There are two types of capsule a small intestines capsule (Pillcam SB) and an esophageal capsule (Pillcam ESO). The capsule contains a small camera, light source, and transmitter and is completely disposable. It generates a movie image of your digestive tract which helps the doctor guide your treatment.
Why is Video Capsule Endoscopy Done?
A physician may suggest a small bowel VCE, if he or she suspects any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal Pain.
- Diarrhea (When cause is non-detectable).
- Internal bleeding.
- Bleeding or Anemia after any major procedure like EGD or Colonoscopy.
- Crohns’s disease (Inflammatory bowel disease).
- To detect ulcers or tumors in small intestine.
An ESO capsule may be recommended for the following conditions:
- Surveillance of Barrett’s esophagus
- Detecting esophageal varices in patients with liver disease
- As a replacement to endoscopy in patients unable to tolerate anesthesia
How Does One Prepare for Video Capsule Endoscopy?
- Patients must fast for at least 12 hours prior to the procedure.
- Some patients with delayed gastric emptying may require additional medication prior to the test
- Inform the doctor or staff about your medications especially if you are on oral iron.
- If you are allergic to any medications, let the doctor know in advance.
- Inform the doctor or staff if you have a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator or if you are scheduled for an upcoming MRI test.
How is Video Capsule Endoscopy Performed?
In this procedure, a patient has to swallow the disposable tiny capsule (contains LED and camera). Also, sensors are attached to the abdomen whose other end is connected to data recorder present in belt worn by you. This recorder records images captured by camera when capsule travels through the gastrointestinal tract. Then the doctor studies the images on a monitor to determine the problems in digestive system. The capsule then comes out of the body in the stool within 48 hours. This procedure is painless so normally anesthesia is not given to patients and they can leave for home after the procedure. VCE also called as Wireless endoscopy, capsule-enteroscopy or small-bowel endoscopy.
What Happens After the Video Capsule Endoscopy is Done?
Patient is instructed to resume normal diet and medications, monitor for PillCam passage in stool and report the date to the office, and should avoid MRI testing for at least 72 hours after exam.