Capsule Endoscopy

Your doctor has determined that a Capsule Endoscopy is necessary for further evaluation of your condition. Capsule Endoscopy will provide your doctor with pictures of your small intestine.
Capsule Endoscopy enables your doctor to examine the three portions (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) of your small intestine. Your doctor will use a vitamin-pill sized video capsule as an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source. While the video capsule travels through your body, images are sent to a data recorder you will wear on a waist belt. Afterwards, your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.

Why is Capsule Endoscopy Performed?

Capsule Endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia after a gastroscopy and colonoscopy has been performed without revealing a diagnosis. In certain chronic gastrointestinal diseases the method can also help to evaluate the effect of therapeutics. You doctor might use Capsule Endoscopy to obtain motility data such as gastric or small bowel passage time.

How Should I Prepare for the Procedure?

An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately ten hours before the examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting. Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you take. Tell your doctor of the presence of a pacemaker, previous abdominal surgery, swallowing difficulty or previous history of obstructions in the bowel. At 7 pm drink one bottle of Mag Citrate (purchase at your pharmacy-does not require a prescription).

What Can I Expect During Capsule Endoscopy?

A nurse will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor array to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves. The capsule endoscope is ingested and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on a belt for approximately eight hours. The capsule endoscope doesn’t interfere with your breathing: most patients consider the test comfortable. You will be able to eat after four hours following the capsule ingestion unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What Happens After Capsule Endoscopy?

At the end of the procedure, you will need to return the data recorder and sensor arrays. The nurse will instruct you when to report back to the facility. The images acquired during your exam will be downloaded to a workstation for physician review. After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, you should not have a MRI examination nor be near a MRI or a radiological imaging device.
After you return the equipment (waist belt, data recorder, battery pack and sensor array), your doctor will process the information from the data recorder. The doctor will view a color video of the pictures taken from the capsule. After the doctor has looked at this video, you will be contacted with the results.
The capsule is disposable and passes naturally with your bowel movement. You should not feel any pain or discomfort.

What are the Possible Complications of Capsule Endoscopy?

Although complications may occur, they are rare. Potential risks include complications from obstruction and it is important for you to recognize early signs of possible complications. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing or increasing chest or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately.

Day Before Examination

  • Eat a regular diet for breakfast and lunch.
  • At dinner have only clear liquids (click here for examples).
  • At 7pm drink 2 bottles of Mag Citrate (purchase at your pharmacy-does not require a prescription).
  • Nothing to eat or drink after 10 PM.
  • Abstain from smoking 24 hours prior to your capsule endoscopy.
  • Do not take any medications 2 hours prior to your examination.
  • Male patients should shave their abdomen 6 inches above and below the navel on the day of the examination. If it is difficult for you to shave your abdomen, please contact our office to arrange to have this done in advance.

Day of Examination

  • Nothing to eat or drink. Do not take morning medications.
  • Please wear loose fitting, two piece clothing.
  • Please arrive for your procedure at the scheduled arrival time. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call our office as soon as possible to reschedule. We reserve the right to charge for missed appointments or appointments cancelled less than 72 hours in advance.
  • The nurse will give you a glass of water at the time you ingest the capsule.
  • You may have clear liquids 2 hours after the capsule is ingested.
  • You may have half of a sandwich and a bowl of soup 4 hours after the capsule is ingested. After this have nothing until you return to the facility to return the equipment.
  • Monitor the data recorded periodically throughout the day. Notify the facility immediately if the blue light is not flashing.
  • After taking the capsule, contact the physician’s office immediately if you suffer from abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting during capsule endoscopy.
  • The nurse will instruct you what time to return to the facility to return the equipment.
  • After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, you should not be near any source of powerful electromagnetic fields such as MRI devices or amateur (ham) radio.

The physician will view the video and our office will call you with your results.
If you have any questions, please call (919)783-4888.