Diagnostic Applications
Related Techniques
Future Directions
by Molly Rossow

Wireless Capsule Endoscopy


A wireless capsule endoscopy exam is much less unpleasant for the patient than other commonly used digestive diagnostic procedures.  The patient consumes only clear liquids starting approximately 24 hours before the exam and fasts for eight hours immediately before the exam.  This ensures that the stomach and intestines will be empty and the camera will have a clear view.  A set of radio receiver are taped to the patient’s abdomen.  These are connected to a data storage device and power supply (for the external receivers only) that is worn around the patient’s waist. 

Once the patient is prepared, the capsule endoscope is swallowed with water and begins sending images to the receivers.  For the most part, the patient can participate in normal activities but strong magnetic fields, such as MRIs, must be avoided.  Two hours after the capsule endoscope is swallowed the patient can drink clear liquids and after four hours the he can begin to eat normally. 

The wireless capsule endoscopy exam lasts for 8 hours.  This is the battery lifetime of the capsule and also usually the time it takes for the capsule to more through the digestive tract.  The series of images taken by the capsule can be recovered from the data recorder.  It takes 30 to 60 minutes to evaluate the results [1][6].