Ever Undergone Endoscopy?
by Bob White, via S. Brevard (FL) Ostomy
Wish There Were Another
Well, there may be some hope in the future. A very small experiment,
recently undertaken in London, explored the idea of a small capsule,
containing a miniature video camera, light source, batteries and a radio
transmitter - capable of being swallowed!
As reported in an article carried in the New England Journal of
Medicine, a group of doctors at Royal London Hospital, in London,
conducted the experiment on four patients. These varied in age from a
78-year-old man to a 16-year-old boy. All had experienced bleeding in the
small intestine, requiring the infusion of large amounts of blood.
The device itself transmits video images to aerials taped to the body,
thus permitting the signals to be received and recorded on a portable
recorder, capable of dealing with a period of six hours. The position of
the capsule within the intestine is determined by the strength of the
signals. The device is expelled within 48 hours.
With the approval of the hospital's ethics committee, the patients
swallowed the device. All four patients reported that the capsule was
"easy to swallow," painless, and preferable to conventional endoscopy. The
images received permitted the group to receive good pictures from the
mouth to the colon, successfully imaging pathological anomalies in the
small bowel. Results of prior surgeries did not seem to hinder the
movement of the capsule.
This information was helpful in directing further treatment in the
patients. True, the procedure is not capable of biopsies or therapy;
however, it was felt that it could prove "valuable in the assessment of
bleeding in patients" who had had negative results with gastroscopy.