Common Indications for Capsule Endoscopy

Obscure Gastrointestinal Bleeding

The most common reason that a capsule endoscopy might be performed is to evaluate obscure gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.

Patients who have unexplained iron deficiency anemia or who are bleeding from the GI tract will typically first be evaluated with a colonoscopy and an upper GI endoscopy (EGD). If neither the colonoscopy nor the EGD are able to identify the source of the bleeding, it is referred to as "obscure GI bleeding" or "suspected small bowel bleeding".

Once a patient is suspected to have small bowel bleeding, a capsule endoscopy examination may be performed. Approximately 5% of all obscure GI bleeding emanates from the small bowel, these are most caused by small vascular lesions called angioectasias. Other causes of bleeding may include:

  • Erosions
  • Hereditary conditions (rare)
  • Inflammation
  • Masses
  • Tumors
  • Ulcerations

Crohn's Disease

Capsule endoscopy may also be used in the examine for Crohn's Disease. Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and weight loss.

Tumors

While less common, small bowel capsule endoscopy is also used to examine the small bowel for tumors.

Celiac Disease

Capsule endoscopy may be used to study patients with celiac disease. 

Contraindications

Small bowel obstruction is a contraindication for capsule endoscopy. The CapsoCam Plus video capsule is contraindicated in patients:
• Who have known or suspected gastrointestinal obstructions, strictures or fistula
• Who are pregnant
• Who have gastroparesis
• Who have a swallowing disorder