Wireless Capsule Endoscopy – Making Ends Meet

Dr David Edge, Gastroenterologist, Wakefield Capsule Endoscopy Service, Wellington

RSNZ Manawatu Branch October 2014 meeting

7.30 pm Tuesday, 21 October, Te Manawa – Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North

 A megavitamin sized PillCam, transmitting full colour images at 4 frames/second for 8 hours, has now enabled visualisation of the whole gastrointestinal tract. The capsule not only bridges the gap between gastroscopy and colonoscopy, but, operating in a normal physiological environment, is also able to detect small pressure-sensitive vascular lesions.

 This technology has helped unravel diagnostic problems relating to suspected gastrointestinal bleeding, iron deficiency anaemia, unexplained diarrhoea or abdominal pain, staging and monitoring Crohn’s Disease, and is also now part of the protocol for screening familial polyp syndromes. A negative study also has a major benefit in redirecting investigations away from the GI tract.

 At $3,000 per procedure, the cost issue has limited its use and delayed diagnosis while other less effective and cumulatively more expensive and time consuming techniques are performed. However, scheduling Capsule Endoscopy at an appropriate early stage in the investigation scheme, and not at the end, makes this a very cost effective and useful diagnostic tool.

Dr David Edge is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He is a Gastroenterologist at the Wakefield Capsule Endoscopy Service in Wellington.

 All warmly welcome