Capsule endoscopies can detect tumors in the small bowel that previously went undetected by other diagnostic technology, according to a new study.

How It Works

In capsule endoscopy, the patient swallows a small capsule that contains a video camera and transmitter. As the capsule travels through the intestinal tract, it collects two images per second and transmits them to a recording device worn by the patient. Doctors then download and view the images.

Study Results

Researchers at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and the University of Miami School of Medicine found that capsule endoscopy detected tumors in the small bowel n 72 patients who had undergone an average of 4.6 negative evaluations. Of the tumors found using capsule endoscopy, 65% were malignant.

Collectively, the patients had previously had a total of 334 negative procedures-115 colonoscopies, 111 upper endoscopies,32 small bowel follow-through procedures, 24 enteroscopies, 17 CT scans, 16 enteroclysis procedures, six nuclear bleeding scans, five angiographies, five plain abdominal X rays, one abdominal ultrasound, one Meckel's scan and one laparoscopy.

Small bowel tumors are traditionally difficult to diagnose because they are beyond the reach of endoscopes, says the co-author of the study, Dr, Gregory Schwartz. "This has been overcome by the use of capsule endoscopy.

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