Patients at The James Cook University Hospital can now opt to swallow a pill-sized camera to check abnormalities in their oesophagus (gullet) and stomach.
Known as an upper GI capsule endoscopy (CE or PillCam), the miniature camera is used to examine part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the small intestine in suitable patients.
The PillCams are typically used when a patient cannot or does not want to undergo a conventional gastroscopy.
Prior to swallowing the capsule, patients are asked to drink a large glass of water and then sensor stickers are applied to their abdomen, which are connected to a data recorder.
They swallow the capsule while lying on their side and there are some position changes required to allow the medical team to obtain the necessary views of the upper GI tract on the data recorder.
Once the capsule has entered the small bowel, the data recorder is disconnected, the patients can eat and drink again as normal and they are discharged home where the capsule is discarded naturally.
Leila Lyons, nurse endoscopist said: “This is an exciting development which has the potential to offer certain patients a more comfortable alternative to a traditional gastroscopy.
“In a lot of cases a traditional gastroscopy is necessary, if we need to take samples for instance, but when we simply need to look at the UGI tract a camera pill is a great alternative.”
It’s a yes from Janice
The first patient to have a capsule endoscopy at James Cook was Janice Pollard from Aldbrough St John, Richmond.
Janice decided to opt for the new service after experiencing problems with traditional endoscopies.
“I’m so glad I did,” said the 65-year-old.
This new procedure is a game changer because you’re oblivious to it, other than swallowing the capsule which is no more difficult than swallowing a piece of food.
“You wouldn’t think you were undergoing anything medical because you don’t feel anything. As long as you can move positions on the bed, you’re absolutely fine.
“I hope more people can take advantage of it in the future.”