The evolution of endoscopy: wireless capsule cameras for the diagnosis of occult gastrointestinal bleeding and inflammatory bowel disease

Davis, Brian R.; Harris, Hobart; Vitale, Gary C.
June 2005
Surgical Innovation;Jun2005, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p129
Academic Journal
journal article
Occult gastrointestinal bleeding and lesions associated with inflammatory bowel disease represent a diagnostic dilemma because they often lie in areas of the small bowel that are difficult to access with flexible fiberoptic endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy has been developed to access these areas in a way that avoids the pain and anesthesia risks of push endoscopy. The diagnostic yield of capsule endoscopy has proven to be superior to both flexible small-bowel endoscopy and radiologic studies in several prospective trials. Capsule endoscopy transmits a large number of images that do not correlate well with the standard endoscopic view, creating a diagnostic challenge for the endoscopist. Complications of this procedure include capsule retention in diverticulae or at stricture sites. The technology of this procedure continues to evolve through improving image resolution and diagnostic accuracy. Capsule endoscopy also represents an overall economic saving despite a high unit price compared with the expense of repeat diagnostic testing. Because the diagnostic yield of capsule endoscopy is nearly twofold greater than conventional endoscopy, it has become the procedure of choice for the dilemma of assessing small-bowel pathology for many clinicians. Further studies are needed to determine whether the capsule endoscope can replace conventional endoscopy in the first-line diagnosis of pathology in other parts of the alimentary tract.


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