A capsule endoscopy is a test done to examine the entire digestive tract instead of just your esophagus, stomach, and upper intestines. The doctor may want you to have this test to determine why you may be having symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal pain, or anemia.
What will the procedure involve?
You will come to the doctor’s office early in the morning, where you will need to swallow a large capsule (just like you would swallow a vitamin). The capsule contains a small, disposable camera that will take pictures of the inside of your body as it travels through your digestive system. The camera will record pictures and send them to a small machine you will wear on a belt around your waist. The machine has wires with sticky ends that will be placed on your skin so the camera can send the pictures to the machine.
You should NOT do a lot of intense activities while wearing the belt and DON’T take a bath or shower. After wearing the belt for 8 hours, you will go back to the doctor’s office to have the belt removed. The capsule will eventually come out in a bowel movement. After two weeks, the doctor will meet with you about the results.
Before the Test
The day before the test, you will need to follow the bowel cleansing instructions:
STEP 1: On the day before the procedure, you may only have clear liquids from noon (12:00 p.m.) onward–NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK AFTER MIDNIGHT. Clear liquids include: light colored juices, tea, clear carbonated drinks, clear broth, boullion, jello Popsicles, Gatorade and Powerade. Do not drink any red or orange fluids. There is no limit to the amount of clear liquids you may have; and we encourage you to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
STEP 2: At 4 p.m. if you are over 12 years old, you should drink 4 ounces of Magnesium Citrate (only 2 ounces if child is between 5-12 years old) followed by 6 ounces of Gatorade or Powerade.
During the Test
You should not eat or drink anything for the first 4 hours after you have swallowed the capsule. After 4 hours, you may have clear liquids – (but nothing orange, purple, or red and NO food). After you return to the clinic (after the 8 hours) you may return to your normal diet.
After swallowing the capsule, and for the entire time that it is in your body, you should NOT be near any source of powerful electromagnetic fields like a MRI device or amateur (ham) radio.
Do not remove the belt or disconnect any of the wires during the 8 hours of the test.
You will return to the office 8 hours after swallowing the pill.
After the Test
The capsule should come out of your body in stool when you have a bowel movement. However, if you are not sure that the pill came out in your bowel movement, and you are having unexplained post procedure fever, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain, contact your doctor immediately. You may need an X-ray to check if the capsule is still in your body.
When to Call the Doctor
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any abdominal pain, fever, nausea, or vomiting during or immediately after the test.
Step by Step Process
- Jalen is going to the hospital today for a capsule endoscopy study. He will either have the capsule placed at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital or at the doctor’s office. If the capsule is placed at the doctor’s office, on the 5th floor of the Medical Office Building, Jalen must arrive at 8:00 AM.
- Nurse Lindsay will explain the procedure to Jalen and his parents, and show them what the capsule looks like. The capsule has a tiny camera inside that takes pictures of Jalen’s tummy. Nurse Lindsay asks Jalen if he can swallow a pill before starting the procedure.
- Nurse Lindsay asks Jalen to lie down on the bed so she can place 8 white patches on Jalen’s tummy. The patches lay on Jalen’s tummy like a Band-Aid. The patches are sensors that show the camera where to take pictures.
- Nurse Lindsay asks Jalen to sit back up and then connects the sensors to a belt that contains a recorder box where the pictures will be stored. Nurse Lindsay then attaches the belt to Jalen. Jalen can tell that the belt is soft and comfortable and won’t hurt at all.
- Nurse Lindsay then asks Jalen to swallow the capsule and drink a cup of water to start the study. Nurse Lindsay tells Jalen’s family that he cannot have anything to eat or drink from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM.
- At 12:00 PM, Jalen can drink or eat clear liquids like Popsicles, juice, chicken broth or water. Nurse Lindsay also says that Jalen can’t have any food or drinks with red, purple or orange dye because they can affect the study.
- Nurse Lindsay tells Jalen and his family to return to the doctor’s office at 4:00 to have the white patches and belt taken off. Nurse Lindsay tells Jalen and his family that a follow-up appointment needs to be scheduled for 2 weeks, so they can see the results of the capsule study.