Capsule Endoscopy

This section of the wesbite details what capsule endoscopy is, and provides information for patients preparing for the procedure.

What is a capsule endoscopy?

This procedure involves ingesting a small M2A Capsule (the size of a large vitamin pill) which will pass naturally through your digestive system while taking pictures of the intestine. The Capsule is disposable and will normally be excreted naturally in your bowel movement. The images taken are transmitted to a walkman-like Data Recorder, which saves all the images. The Data Recorder is attached to a special belt worn around your waist. After 8 hours, you will remove the belt and return it to your physician for processing.

Dr Jamieson runs the capsule endoscopy service. He is an expert in the field and has published articles relating to the clinical application and basic science background to this technique.

This video explains how the ‘pill cam’ works and what the camera saw when Simon Carding, Programme Leader at the Institute of Food Research, swallowed the ‘pill cam’.

Before the procedure

  • Do not take any medication beginning 2 hours before undergoing Capsule Endoscopy.
  • Abstain from smoking 24 hours prior to undergoing Capsule Endoscopy.
  • Male patients should shave their abdomen 6 inches (15 centimeters) above and below the navel on the day of the examination. If you find this difficult, please contact the Gastroenterology Unit to arrange to have this done in advance – 01603 288853.

The day of the procedure

  • Arrive at the Gastroenterology Unit at the prescribed time for your Capsule Endoscopy dressed in loose fitting, two-piece clothing.
  • At the Gastroenterology Unit, you will have a pre-procedure interview. During this interview you will be informed that Capsule Endoscopy is associated with a small chance of intestinal obstruction. You will be checked-in and asked to give your informed consent.
  • You will be connected to the data recorder which you will wear in a belt around your waist. After that you will be instructed to ingest the capsule.

After ingesting the capsule

  • After ingesting the M2A Capsule, do not eat or drink for at least 2 hours. After 4 hours you may have a light snack. After the examination is completed, you may return to your normal diet. The above instructions related to eating apply, unless your physician specifies otherwise. Contact your physician immediately if you suffer from any abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting during Capsule Endoscopy.
  • After ingesting the M2A Capsule and until it is excreted, you should not be near any source of powerful electromagnetic fields such as one created near an MRI device or amateur (ham) radio.
  • Occasionally, some images may be lost due to radio interference (e.g from amateur radio transmitter, MRI, etc.,). On rare occasions this may result in the need to repeat the Capsule Endoscopy examination. In this case, the physician will advise you to stay within the premises of the Gastroenterology Unit to prevent this problem from recurring.
  • Capsule Endoscopy lasts approximately 8 hours and is considered complete according to your physician’s instructions. Do not disconnect the equipment or remove the belt at any time during this period. Since the Data Recorder is actually a small computer, it should be treated with utmost care and protection. Avoid sudden movement and banging of the Data Recorder.
  • During Capsule Endoscopy, you will need to verify every 15 minutes that the small light on top of the Data Recorder is blinking twice per second. If, for some reason it stops blinking at this rate, record the time and contact your physician. You should also record the time and nature of any event such as eating, drinking, your activity and unusual sensations. Return the Event Form with these notes to your physician at the time you return the equipment.
  • Avoid any strenuous physical activity especially if it involves sweating and do not bend over or stoop during Capsule Endoscopy.

After completing capsule endoscopy

  • You will be instructed by your physician on how to return the equipment at the end of Capsule Endoscopy. If you were instructed to remove the equipment by yourself, do the following:
    a. Disconnect the SensorArray from the Data Recorder
    b. Take off the Recorder Belt with the Data Recorder and Battery Pack
    c. Disconnect the Battery Pack from the Data Recorder
    d. Place Data Recorder and Battery Pack in a safe place.
    e. To remove the SensorArray from your abdomen, do not pull the leads of the SensorArray
    f. Peel off each adhesive sleeve starting with the non-adhesive tab without removing the sensor from the adhesive sleeve. Place the SensorArray with the rest of the equipment.
  • The Data Recorder stores the images of your examination. Handle the Data Recorder, Recorder Belt, SensorArray and Battery Pack carefully. Do not expose them to shock, vibration or direct sunlight, which may result in loss of information. Return all of the equipment to the Gastroenterology Unit as soon as possible.
  • If you did not positively verify the excretion of the M2A Capsule from your body, and you develop unexplained post procedure nausea, abdominal pain or vomiting, contact your physician for evaluation and possible abdominal X-ray examination.
  • Undergoing an MRI while the capsule is inside your body may result in serious damage to your intestinal tract or abdominal cavity.