A disposable capsule fitted with tiny cameras that passes naturally through your digestive system while taking pictures of your intestine. These images can identify conditions like hidden gastrointestinal bleeding, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, parasites, benign and malignant tumors and more.
Important Note: A capsule endoscopy examination lasts 8 hours. Call the Outpatient Department if you have severe or persistent abdominal or chest pain, fever, difficulty swallowing, or if you have any questions. Our phone number is (828) 286-5319.
Before your procedure
- One week before: Do not take aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or iron products for one (1) week prior to the procedure.
- One day before:
- Do not eat or drink after 8 p.m.
- Male patients should shave their abdomen 6 inches above and below the navel on the day of the examination. If it is difficult for you to shave your abdomen, please contact the Outpatient Department to arrange to have this done in advance.
Day of your procedure
- Interview: At the Outpatient Department, you will have a pre-procedure interview. During this interview, you should be informed the capsule endoscopy is associated with a small chance of intestinal obstruction. You will also be asked to give your informed consent for the procedure.
- How it works: The images from the capsule are transmitted to electrode leads placed on your abdomen with adhesive pads. These sensors are attached to a portable data recorder on a belt worn around your waist. Once everything is attached, you will be instructed to ingest the capsule, about the size of a large vitamin.
- Avoid electromagnets: After ingesting the 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. Do not stand directly next to another patient undergoing capsule endoscopy. You may use a computer, radio, stereo or cell phone.
- Sensitive technology: Try not to touch the recorder or the electrode leads. The data recorder is actually a small computer and it should be treated with the utmost care and protection. Do not expose any of the equipment (data recorder, recorder belt, electrode leads or recorder battery pack) to shock, vibration or direct sunlight. Avoid getting the data recorder or electrode leads wet.
During your procedure
- Food and drink: You may drink clear liquids (water, apple juice) 4 hours after swallowing the capsule. You may eat a light meal 5 hours after swallowing the capsule. You may also take your medications at this time. Record the time and nature of any event such as eating, drinking, and unusual sensations.
- Take it easy: Do not exercise. Avoid heavy lifting. Avoid any strenuous activity and do not bend or stoop during the procedure. You may walk, sit and lay down. You can drive a car. You may return to work if your work allows avoiding unsuitable environments and/or physical movements.
- Check the light: Observe the LED light on the top of the data recorder at least every 15 minutes. It should blink twice per second. If the light stops blinking at this rate, document the time and call the Outpatient Department.
- Always keep the belt on: You may loosen the belt to allow yourself to go to the bathroom. Do not take the belt off.
You will be instructed when to return to the Outpatient Department to have the equipment removed. Occasionally, some images may be lost due to radio interference. 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 hospital during the procedure to prevent this problem from recurring.