Capsule Endoscopy

What is a Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule Endoscopy involves swallowing a jelly bean-sized plastic capsule which passes naturally through the small intestine. The capsule takes 2 pictures per second and transmits them to a Data Recorder worn on a belt for the duration of the test – about 8 hours. The pictures are later reviewed on a computer. Capsule Endoscopy is generally safe and well tolerated with a 60% chance of finding the cause of otherwise unexplained anaemia.
Preparations (Day Before)

On the day before the Capsule Endoscopy, have breakfast and a light lunch, then drink only clear fluids – nothing more to eat.

Drink plenty of clear fluids. The reason for the fluids is to keep you hydrated and to “flush” the small bowel out. Clearer pictures of the end of the small bowel are obtained if you drink plenty of fluids. If you do not drink the clear fluids you may have to have a repeat Capsule Endoscopy, with colonoscopy bowel prep the day before.

You may drink clear fluid up until you come to the rooms for the PillCam.Approved clear fluids are water, clear salty fluids (e.g. clear broth), clear fruit juices (eg apple and pear), plain jelly, black tea or coffee (no milk), sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, Hydralyte etc.), carbonated beverages, barley sugar, clear fruit cordials. Moderate alcohol is allowed.

On the Day

Do not take medication within 2 hours of Capsule Endoscopy examination. Wear loose-fitting, two piece clothing (shirt and pants/skirt).

Swallowing the Capsule

The SensorArray will be applied to your stomach and will be connected to the DataRecorder which you will wear on a belt around your waist. After that you will swallow the capsule with some water.

You can leave straight after swallowing the capsule and will be asked to come back that afternoon to have the equipment removed.  It may be possible to remove the equipment yourself at home, and bring it in the next morning.

After Swallowing the Capsule

Check the blue light on the top of the DataRecorder at least every 15 minutes – if the light stops blinking, note the time and call the hospital or rooms.

You may now continue having clear fluids, but you must wait 4 hours until you can eat a light meal and take your medications (unless otherwise advised after swallowing the capsule). Once the equipment is removed you can eat normally.

You may walk, sit, lie down or drive. You may return to work, if you can avoid unsuitable environments and physical activities. Do not exercise. Avoid heavy lifting. Try not to touch the DataRecorder or the SensorArray leads and avoid getting them wet.

Avoid going near MRI machines and radio transmitters. You may use a computer, radio, stereo, or mobile phone. Do not stand directly next to another patient undergoing Capsule Endoscopy.

Return to the relevant clinic/hospital at the time indicated (6-8 hours after you swallowed the capsule) to have the equipment removed.

Pain or nausea are very uncommon following capsule endoscopy. Should you feel persistent pain or nausea please call our rooms

The capsule passes naturally in a bowel movement, typically in about 24-72 hours. Most likely you will be unaware of its passage. It does not need to be retrieved and can safely be flushed down the toilet. Should you be concerned that the capsule has not passed after 7 days you should contact our rooms

Until the capsule passes, further testing which includes any type of MRI should be avoided. If you have an MRI examination scheduled within the next 3 days, the MRI examination should be postponed.

Important Notes

Results are generally available within 1 week of the procedure.  A report will be sent to the referring doctor.

Also be aware that stringent Medicare criteria apply for funding of capsule endoscopy (which is expensive).

Booking request

Please click on the “Request Booking” to request a booking date or alternatively give us a call and we will be more than happy to help.