Identifying Diseases of the Small Bowel with Video Capsule Endoscopy

If you require an endoscopy, you may be a candidate for wireless capsule endoscopy. This new procedure, called Pillcam, is an alternative to traditional endoscopy. It is used in select patients to diagnose and evaluate esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and Barretts esophagus. This procedure may not be covered by some insurance policies. For more information, call 216.444.1000.

A team of Cleveland Clinic gastroenterologists has also used Pillcam to identify diseases of the small bowel in approximately 800 patients since the technology was FDA-approved in 2001.

The Pillcam allows non-invasive visualization of the small intestine without many of the limitations associated with conventional endoscopic and X-ray procedures.

"In some cases, Crohn's disease, which involves the small intestine in 30 to 40 percent of cases, cannot be diagnosed by EGD, colonoscopy or barium radiography," says Clinic gastroenterologist Gregory Zuccaro Jr., MD. "In those cases, Pillcam is a particularly effective diagnostic device."

At Cleveland Clinic, capsule endoscopy videos are view completely by a board-certified gastroenterologist specializing in capsule endoscopy. All videos are prescreened by a specially trained registered nurse. In a study performed at Cleveland Clinic and reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2003; 98:2669-71), the nurses interpretations of studies were as accurate as the physicians interpretations.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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