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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2007 Apr;44(4):516-20.

Wireless capsule endoscopy in the pediatric age group: experience and complications.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Schneider Children's Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.



The development of wireless capsule endoscopy (CE) provides a unique opportunity to visualize the entire small bowel in a minimally invasive manner. Studies in adult patients have demonstrated that the disposable capsule is well tolerated and highly effective, but few studies have been done in children. The aims of our study were to compare the diagnostic yield of CE and small bowel series in children being evaluated for possible small intestine disease and to determine the risk of developing an adverse event following capsule endoscopy.


We retrospectively reviewed the records of all children who underwent CE at 1 institution between August 2002 and July 2005. Results of CE were compared with those of small bowel radiographic studies when available.


There were 46 CE studies from 45 patients, 28 male and 17 female, with a mean age of 14.9 +/- 3.6 years and mean weight of 49.7 +/- 17.5 kg. The indications for CE included unresponsive Crohn disease (n = 16), possible intestinal polyps (n = 11), unexplained iron deficiency anemia (n = 7), growth failure (n = 5), unresponsive ulcerative colitis (n = 3), persistent abdominal pain (n = 1), protein-losing enteropathy (n = 1), and allergic enteropathy with occult gastrointestinal bleeding (n = 1). Of the 46 CE studies, 41 were completed and 5 were incomplete studies. Based on the CE, 9 patients were newly diagnosed with Crohn disease, 9 patients with Crohn disease were newly diagnosed with small bowel involvement, 8 patients had upper intestinal polyps, 1 patient had findings consistent with Ménétrièr disease, and 1 had a duodenal ulcer. Thirty-three patients had small bowel series before CE: 24 studies were normal, 6 had abnormal thickening of the small bowel, 2 had polyps, and 1 patient had antral narrowing. All 9 patients with abnormal small bowel series had abnormal CE studies. Of the 24 patients with normal small bowel series, 20 had completed CE studies, and in 10 children, the study was abnormal. Nine of the 45 subjects had adverse events. Five patients had delayed passage from the stomach, with 2 needing endoscopic retrieval of the CE, and 4 had delayed passage from the small intestine (>5 days), with 2 requiring surgical removal, 1 responding to steroids, and the final patient requiring an ileocolic resection 2 months after the CE for an undiagnosed ileal stricture. The only significant association noted was that older patients were more likely to have intestinal retention.


CE provides a valuable tool in the evaluation of pediatric patients for possible small bowel disease. However, the risk of developing complications appears to be greater in the pediatric population, with 20% of our patients having an adverse event.

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