What is a Given Capsule Enteroscopy?


Capsule Enteroscopy involves swallowing a video capsule the size of a large antibiotic capsule to examine the small bowel. The procedure is commonly undertaken if your doctor suspects that you have inflammation, ulceration or other abnormalities of the small bowel. An alternative test to endoscopy is a barium study of the small bowel or push enteroscopy. In some situations barium tests are more useful than endoscopy, but for examination of the small bowel endoscopy is usually more sensitive and specific than a barium test. The push enteroscopy does allow biopsies to be taken, but will only examine the first quarter of the small bowel. The capsule will usually examine the entire small bowel.


What Preparation is Required?


You will be given a telephone appointment with a Registered Nurse, she will discuss your dietary requirements and be able to answer any questions you may have. It is essential that your stomach is empty during your procedure to ensure clear views.  Therefore you must be NIL BY MOUTH from 22:00 hours (10PM) the night before your capsule study. You should take your normal medications the night before with a sip of water. Please leave all valuables at home as the hospital cannot accept any responsibility for items lost or stolen.


What Happens When I Arrive at the Unit?


When you arrive at the Endoscopy Unit a nurse or one of the reception staff will meet you. You will be asked to take a seat in the waiting room. A nurse will take your medical details to ensure you are correctly and safely prepared. This time gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding the procedure. Although we do try to keep waiting time to a minimum if an emergency case does occur that patient will be given priority. You will be fitted with a belt, and asked to take a Maxalon tablet with water & Infacol. This Maxalon aids stomach emptying and the Infacol reduces bubbles (air in your stomach). You will be asked to swallow the capsule with a mouthful of water.


Will I be Asleep for the Procedure?


No sedation is required as the procedure is painless.


What Happens After the Procedure?


Once you have swallowed the capsule you will remain nil by mouth for 2 hours. You will then be allowed to drink clear fluids such as water or cordial. 4 hours after swallowing the capsule you will be allowed to have lunch. You will be allowed home immediately after swallowing the capsule. You may remove the belt after 10-12 hours and return it the following day as early as possible after 6.30am and before 10.00am, to have the images processed.


How Do I Get the Results?


The results take a few hours to process and approximately 2 hours to view. The report will be sent to the referring doctor and a copy retained in your hospital notes. Normally your GP will discuss the results with you so you should make an appointment to see them. Please allow 1-2 weeks for your GP to obtain these results.


What are the Risks Involved from a Capsule Enteroscopy?


Before you agree to this procedure you should be aware of the reason for which it is being proposed, the alternatives and the problems that can occur. No treatment or procedure is totally risk free, but routine capsule enteroscopy is extremely safe. The main complications following a capsule endoscopy are mentioned below.

  • There is a very small risk of the capsule getting stuck in the bowel if a narrowing is present (approximately 1 in 200). This is not always known before the procedure. If the capsule did get stuck you may require an operation.

There is also a risk if the patient is unable to swallow the capsule or the capsule gets stuck in the oesophagus requiring endoscopic retrieval.



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