Procedural Information – Capsule Endoscopy

What is Capsule Endoscopy? (Pill Cam)

Capsule endoscopy is a new technology designed to examine the small bowel. The test involves swallowing a capsule (About the size of a large vitamin capsule) that takes multiple digital photos of the small bowel. The images are transmitted via small sensors attached to the abdomen with adhesive stickers. The small bowel is about 6 metres long and the capsule takes about 8 hours to travel through it. You should pass the capsule naturally in your bowel actions. You do not need to retrieve the capsule; it should be flushed down the toilet.

Capsule endoscopy is a day procedure. You will be required to attend our clinic in the morning for about 60 minutes for the leads and special belt to be attached. You will be given the capsule to swallow. You may then leave the clinic and return at 4pm to have the equipment removed. No sedation or anaesthetic is required. You will need to follow a diet the day before the test and take
some bowel preparation. After your return the equipment, the information from the data recorder will be processed and assessed. Your doctor will notify you of the results within 2 weeks.

Patient Instructions for Undergoing Capsule Endoscopy (Pill Cam)

You are advised NOT to smoke for 24 hours before the test. After 12.00 midday you must not eat any more solid food. You must drink ONLY approved clear fluids such as water, apple or pear juice, lemon or lime jelly, black tea or coffee (no milk) Bonox, Lucozade, lemonade, clear fruit cordials, clear broth. (No red, blue or purple coloured drinks or jelly). You may suck barley sugar. You may take necessary medication with water. At 7 PM mix the sachet of Picolax in a glass of water and stir until dissolved. Drink the mixture slowly but completely. This should be followed by a glass of water or approved clear fluids. Have at least 1 glass of approved clear fluid every hour until 10pm. The bowel preparation may give you diarrhoea.

IMPORTANT: Have nothing to eat or drink after midnight

Please wear an upper garment of thin cotton that is long enough to reach at least hip level (synthetic material is not suitable) Do not take any medication 2 hours before the test.


Patient Instructions: During Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

You have just swallowed a small bowel capsule. This is what you can expect over the next 6-8 hours. Please call our clinic if you have severe or persistent abdominal or chest pain, fever, difficulty swallowing, or if you have any questions.
Our phone number is 9044 4200.

1. You must not eat or drink anything for two hours after swallowing the capsule. You may then start drinking clear liquids (water or apple juice) only. You may eat a light meal 4 hours after swallowing the capsule and take your medications.
2. Do not exercise and avoid heavy lifting. 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.
3. The belt contains a battery pack and data recorder which are joined together with wires, it would be wise to avoid public places such as airports and railway stations where security is monitored.
4. Avoid going near MRI machines and radio transmitters. You may use a computer, radio, stereo, or mobile phone. If you are having an MRI at any time in the future you must discuss this with your Gastroenterologist first.
5. Do NOT stand near another patient undergoing capsule endoscopy.
6. Try not to touch or remove the sensor belt.
7. Avoid getting the sensor belt wet.
8. Observe the LED light on the data recorder at least every 15 minutes. If the light stops blinking, document the time and call our office.
9. Return to the office at 3.45-4pm to have the equipment removed.

Are there any risks to me?

There is a small risk that the capsule could become stuck in the small bowel. This is uncommon, the estimated risk is 1 in 200. Surgery may be required to remove a retained (stuck) capsule. An X-Ray may be requested one to two weeks after the test if the capsule is not seen on the video images to enter the large bowel. Capsules should be flushed away.

If you have a fever, trouble swallowing or increasing chest or abdominal pain, you should contact your doctor immediately. On rare occasions technical problems or capsule retention in the stomach
may mean a repeat procedure needs to be performed.

IMPORTANT: Please notify your doctor if you have a pacemaker or any other implanted medical device, difficulty with swallowing or a possibility of an obstruction eg. (Blockage in the esophagus, stomach or bowel).