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Abdom Imaging. 2009 Jul;34(4):452-8. doi: 10.1007/s00261-008-9431-5.

Capsule enteroscopy of the small intestine.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel.


The advent of video capsule endoscopy (VCE) in 2000 has dramatically changed the diagnosis and management of many diseases of the small intestine. In this review we discuss the procedure, the various indications and contraindications, adverse effects, and future prospects of VCE. VCE has a significant role in the diagnosis of obscure gastrointestinal hemorrhage and Crohn's disease and has the highest diagnostic yield in comparison to other diagnostic modalities. Furthermore, VCE has gained an important role in the management and surveillance of suspected small bowel tumors and in patients with polyposis syndromes. Capsule enteroscopy may have a role in the work-up of symptomatic celiac disease and in the assessment of drug therapeutic efficacy and adverse small bowel effects. Although VCE is relatively non-invasive, it is contraindicated in patients with swallowing disorders, known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, strictures, or fistulas, and in patients with implanted electromedical devices. Other contraindications include pregnancy and children under 10. Capsule retention is the most feared complication of VCE with a frequency of 1%-2%. Risk factors and management of capsule retention are also discussed. It is probable that new indications for VCE will evolve and technological improvements will refine VCE's diagnostic accuracy and simplify video reviewing.

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