Capsule Endoscopy:

What is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy is a method of examining the small intestine by using a tiny video recording device which is swallowed in a "capsule" format. Clinical studies have confirmed that capsule endoscopy is effective for observing the small intestine. The capsule takes pictures as it moves through your gastrointestinal tract. The pictures are then transmitted from the capsule to a recorder unit secured to a belt around your waist. All the pictures are stored on this recorded unit. After 8 hours the belt and the recorder unit are removed. The images recorded will then be saved ready to be viewed by your doctor.

The capsule will be excreted naturally in your faeces. The capsule contains metal parts. Stay away from any equipment that prohibits the wearing of metal objects close to it (i.e. MRI equipment) until the capsule is excreted. If the capsule has not been excreted, it may be necessary to retrieve it either by a conventional endoscopy or a surgical procedure.

How are you prepared?

The Day of the Examination:
  • Most medication can be taken with a sip of water 2 hours prior to the examination.
  • Do not use any form of talcum powder.
  • Arrive at the hospital at the requested time and wear loose fitting, two-piece clothing (i.e. top and bottoms; not dresses).
  • As you will be wearing a sensor belt, you need to wear thin natural-fibre clothing next to your skin (i.e. cotton singlet).
  • If you have not already done so you will be asked to sign a consent form.
  • Once the documentation has been completed you will be taken into an examination room. The nurse will attach the sensor belt to your abdomen.
  • The belt will then be attached to a recorded which will be placed in a pouch on a belt around your waist.
  • You will be given a tablet to swallow with a small amount of fluid.
  • The capsule and recorded box will be checked to ensure they are working correctly.
  • You will then be asked to swallow the capsule.
During the Examination:
  • Once you have swallowed the capsule, do not eat or drink for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours you may have something to drink.
  • After 4 hours you may have a light snack.
  • You are requested to record any event (eating, drinking, activity and unusual sensations on the event form provided.
  • Bring this event form with you when you return to your doctor’s room to have the equipment disconnected.
  • During the examination you should not be near any source of powerful magnetic fields such as, and MRI device or amateur radio.
  • Avoid sudden movement and banging of the recorder box.
  • Do not operate any of the recording device switches.
  • Do not wet the equipment.
  • Capsule Endoscopy lasts approximately 8 hours. During this time do not disconnect the equipment or remove the belt.
  • Check the data recorded approximately every 15 minutes to verify the small light on the box continues to flash. If the box ceases to flash, record the time and contact the hospital.
On completion of the Examination:
  • Return to the hospital at the arranged time.
  • The nurse will disconnect you from the data recorded box and remove the belt.
  • You are then free to leave.
  • The doctor will be able to remove the data from the recorded box and view the results of the procedure.
  • Once the results are available, your doctor will contact you with the results and arrange any further tests or treatments.

Special Considerations

You cannot undergo the examination if any of the following medical conditions apply to you:
  • You have a cardiac pacemaker or other implanted electronic devices.
  • You have a known intestinal obstruction, significant intestinal strictures, or fistulas.
  • You have difficulty swallowing.
  • You are not suitable for any type of surgery.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You have been diagnosed as having radiation enteritis.
  • If you are taking iron tablets, please check with your specialist and stop 1 week before you capsule.