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Crozer Gastroenterologists Using New Endo Capsule Technology

In Brief

  • Crozer-Chester Medical Center gastroenterologists are now using Endo Capsule, a vitamin-sized pill containing a high-resolution color camera and a transmitter.
  • Capsule endoscopy is FDA-approved and is a less invasive alternative to traditional endoscopy.
  • The technology is used to detect polyps, Crohn’s disease, ulcers and tumors in the small intestine.

Crozer-Chester Medical Center gastroenterologists are now using Endo Capsule, a vitamin-sized pill containing a high-resolution color camera and a transmitter, to detect polyps, Crohn’s disease, ulcers and tumors in the small intestine.

These conditions are usually detected through a traditional endoscopy, in which a thin tube with a camera on its tip (endoscope) is inserted into a sedated patient’s mouth and down through the esophagus and stomach into the small intestine. Capsule endoscopy is a less invasive alternative that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2001. The procedure has been used by CKHS gastroenterologists for several years. The new Endo Capsule, however, offers greater accuracy and clearer images than previous capsule endoscopy technologies.

How does it work? The Endo Capsule is simply swallowed with a glass of water by the patient. It travels effortlessly through the digestive system. The system’s camera takes two pictures per second, instantly transmitting the images to a recording device worn on the patient’s hip. After about eight hours, the pill is excreted naturally and the patient brings the recording device to their doctor. The images are downloaded to a computer and burned onto a DVD. The physician can view the images and make a diagnosis.

“The advantages of capsule endoscopy include excellent images, a high diagnostic yield, and minimal discomfort for the patient,” says Immanuel Ho, M.D., chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Ho and his colleagues in the Crozer Gastroenterology Associates practice (Brian Copeland, D.O., Michael Farber, M.D., Monica Patel-Zeitz, M.D., and Neil Tarkin, M.D.) are offering Endo Capsule. “It is a good alternative for patients who may be worried about undergoing a traditional endoscopy.”

To prepare for the procedure, a patient may not eat or drink eight hours prior. In some cases, a patient may be prescribed a laxative or other agent to cleanse the digestive tract. The light-weight recorder worn around the waist requires small antenna leads to be placed on the patient’s chest and abdomen. Two hours after taking the capsule, a patient may drink clear liquids or water. After four hours, a patient may have a small light snack. When the capsule is excreted, the patient should not have any pain or discomfort.

In rare instances, patients may experience some trouble excreting the capsule. If a patient feels any discomfort during or following the procedure, he or she should contact their doctor immediately.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Crozer Gastroenterology Associates - which has offices at Crozer, the Crozer Medical Plaza at Brinton Lake and Springfield Hospital - call (610) 619-7475.

To learn more about Crozer-Keystone Health System gastroenterology services, visit www.ckhsgi.org.

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