GI Blog

When to Do Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy?

24 January 2024

In recent years, a large number of revolutionary technological innovations have brought earth-shaking changes to the medical field. Many experts and professors at home and abroad also have a positive outlook on its prospects. In addition to some improvements in the small bowel capsule endoscopy, special esophageal capsule endoscopy, special colon capsule endoscopy, and magnetic-controlled capsule gastroscope have also entered the clinical application stage.


However, for ordinary people, capsule endoscopy is still unfamiliar, and the high cost makes them hesitate. Under what circumstances is capsule endoscopy needed? Not only do clinical doctors need to grasp the indications, but patients themselves need to have a basic understanding.


Only in this way can we avoid the tragedy of "panicking for treatment" or "delaying minor illnesses, enduring major illnesses, and waiting for death". Consider undergoing small bowel capsule endoscopy in the following situations.


Use small bowel capsule endoscopy for unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding


In clinical practice, there are often cases where patients find that their stools are black or bloody when they go to the bathroom. They come to the hospital for examination, but gastroscopy and colonoscopy do not reveal any clear sources of bleeding. What they thought was a minor problem still remains unresolved even after coming to a large hospital. Of course, some patients do not have obvious gastrointestinal bleeding symptoms (such as dark stools, bloody stools, or vomiting blood), but only show positive results in stool occult blood tests or anemia during physical examinations. In this case, doctors usually diagnose it as "unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding".


Next, doctors often recommend patients to undergo capsule endoscopy. This is because the sources of unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding are often located in the small intestine, and small bowel capsule endoscopy can serve as a supplement to gastroscopy and colonoscopy, allowing a thorough examination of the patient's small intestine.


Use small bowel capsule endoscopy for unexplained iron-deficiency anemia


After excluding other causes of anemia (such as malnutrition, excessive menstrual bleeding in women, gastric-duodenal or colorectal diseases, etc.), some patients still cannot determine the cause of their iron-deficiency anemia, and their condition often recurs. In these cases, capsule endoscopy can be performed to determine whether there are small intestine lesions causing the anemia. Sometimes, unexpected results may occur.


Use small bowel capsule endoscopy for other diseases


Some patients suspected of having Crohn's disease, small intestine tumors, or suspected or difficult-to-control malabsorption syndromes (such as celiac disease) can undergo small bowel capsule endoscopy when no lesions are found during gastroscopy.


At the same time, small bowel capsule endoscopy is also helpful in monitoring and guiding the treatment of Crohn's disease, monitoring the development of small intestinal polyp disease, detecting nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced small intestinal mucosal damage, and clinically ruling out small intestinal diseases, and other aspects.