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Video capsule endoscopy of the small bowel

Eliakim, Rami

Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: March 2013 - Volume 29 - Issue 2 - p 133–139
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e32835bdc03
SMALL INTESTINE: Edited by David H. Alpers and William F. Stenson

Purpose of review Small bowel capsule endoscopy (SBCE) was introduced 13 years ago by Given Imaging (Yokneam, Israel). It has become one of the most important investigational tools of the small bowel. The capsule is swallowed with water after a 12 h fast, propelled via peristalsis through the gastrointestinal tract and excreted naturally. A nonvideo patency capsule was developed to confirm functional patency of the gastrointestinal tract.

Recent findings Four additional companies have introduced competitive small bowel video capsules, some of which are Food and Drug Admistration (FDA) approved. Due to the easiness of the procedure, SBCE has become a first-line tool to detect small bowel abnormalities. The main indications for SBCE include obscure gastrointestinal bleeding, suspected Crohn's disease, small bowel tumors and practically any abnormal small bowel imaging. New indications are emerging like small bowel motility and monitoring of drug therapy and mucosal healing.

The present review will describe the available capsules in the market, the procedure itself, present indications and future expectations. It will focus on the PillCam SB of Given Imaging as it is the one on which most of the literature is written.

Summary Over the past 10 years, SBCE has become a routine, first-line investigational tool of many small bowel pathologies.

Department of Gastroenterology, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Hashomer, Gush Dan, Israel

Correspondence to Rami Eliakim, MD, Head Department of Gastroenterology, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel. Tel: +972 3 530 2679; fax: +972 3 530 5901; e-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.