Procedures Capsule Endoscopy

The PillCam™ ESO video capsule is specifically designed to view the inner lining of the esophagus. The capsule is equipped with miniature cameras on both ends and is about the size of a multivitamin, which can be easily swallowed. Three sensor arrays are strategically placed on the patient’s chest and connected to a DataRecorder™, worn on a belt around the waist. The patient swallows the capsule lying down and is then raised in a series of inclinations over a total of five minutes. The PillCam™ ESO travels through the esophagus by normal peristaltic waves, flashing 14 times per second, each time capturing images of the inner lining of the esophagus.

As it continues down the esophagus, the images captured may identify potential abnormalities, such as Esophagitis – which is inflammation of the lining of the esophagus often caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Severity of symptoms is measured by a grading system, and in severe cases, esophageal ulcers can appear. Images captured by the PillCam™ ESO may also identify symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus, which occurs as a result of abnormal cell growth in the lower esophagus. Columnar cells, typically found in the lining of the stomach, replace the squamous cells in the lining of the esophagus, which can lead to a cancerous condition.

During the first five minutes of the procedure, the PillCam™ ESO captures images, which are transmitted to the sensor arrays. These images then travel from the sensors along the wires to the DataRecorder™. At this point, the patient is permitted to get up and walk or remain seated for an additional 15 minutes to ensure the capsule has traveled the entire length of the esophagus. After dropping into the stomach, the pill is later excreted naturally. Once all equipment is removed from the patient, the portable DataRecorder™ downloads the video images to a designated workstation, from which the physician views and assesses the results in order to recommend next steps in the patient’s treatment.

What to Expect from the PillCam SB Procedure

Patients typically begin fasting at midnight the day before the PillCam SB procedure. The following morning when you arrive at your doctor’s office, a nurse or technician will explain the procedure to you. The nurse or technician will then fit you with the PillCam sensor belt, a comfortable belt worn around your waist and over your clothing. The PillCam recorder, a small portable recording device that communicates with the PillCam SB capsule as it passes through the small bowel, is attached to the sensor belt.

You will then be asked to swallow the vitamin-sized capsule with a glass of water and you will then be able to resume most daily activities. You will be scheduled to return to the physician’s office with the sensor belt and the recorder. Your physician will then download images from the recorder for review. PillCam SB passes naturally with a bowel movement, usually in 24 to 72 hours. The small bowel, also known as the small intestine, connects the stomach to the large intestine. The small bowel performs many functions including digestion and other metabolic processes.

Because conditions such as Crohn’s disease, obscure GI bleeding (OGIB) and Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) impairs the digestion process and disturbs normal absorption of nutrients, various symptoms may result that interfere with your daily life. With PillCam SB, for the first time your doctor is able to visualize small bowel abnormalities to detect and monitor lesions, ulcers, tumors or bleeding. Armed with information, your physician can decide what may be the best treatment option for you.

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