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Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Oct;53(10):2732-8. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0210-5. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

Safety, reliability and limitations of the given patency capsule in patients at risk of capsule retention: a 3-year technical review.

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Wolfson Unit for Endoscopy, St Mark's Hospital, Watford Road, London, HA1 3UJ, UK.



The patency capsule may prevent capsule retention in high-risk patients. However data on its use in routine clinical practice is limited.


Patients referred to our institution between Feb-04 and Jan-07 were reviewed. The following data was collected: presenting symptoms; medical/surgical history; medication; radiology; patency/video capsule result; subsequent investigations; clinical outcomes.


373 patients were referred. In 315 (84%) 'low-risk' patients (no patency capsule): delayed transit occurred in three, with no cases of capsule retention. In 58 (16%) 'high risk' patients (patency capsule): asymptomatic retention occurred in eight, all with pathology despite normal prior barium studies in six; in four cases patency location was incorrectly assessed radiologically, leading to video capsule retention and surgery in one.


Most patients can safely undergo capsule endoscopy without a patency capsule. The patency capsule appears safe and is indicative of pathology when retained. Assessment of patency capsule location post ingestion can be difficult, and if barium radiology is equivocal a limited abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan is suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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