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Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2019 Jan-Feb;25(1):40-45. doi: 10.4103/sjg.SJG_77_18.

Association between hypokalemia and small bowel capsule endoscopy completion rates in patients in South China: A prospective single-center study.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Qingyuan People's Hospital, The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangdong, China.



Approximately 20-30% of small bowel capsule endoscopies (SBCEs) do not reach the cecum at the completion of the examination. We aimed to determine whether hypokalemia influences the completion rate and small bowel transit time (SBTT) of SBCE.

Patients and Methods:

From January to December 2017, 112 patients (18-75 years old) who underwent SBCE were assessed consecutively for enrolment in our study. On the day of the procedure, a blood test was performed prior to capsule ingestion. The completion rate, gastric transit time (GTT), SBTT, and diagnostic yield were recorded for each SBCE.


The SBCE completion rate was lower in the hypokalemia group than that in the normal potassium group (55.6% (15/27) vs. 76.5% (65/85), P = 0.036). The median GTT was 55.5 ± 47.1 min in the hypokalemia group and 46.7 ± 44.5 min in the normal potassium group (P > 0.05). The median SBTT was 412.8 ± 123.3 min in the hypokalemia group and 367.3 ± 172.5 min in the normal potassium group (P > 0.05). The diagnostic yields of the hypokalemia and normal potassium groups were 74.1% and 78.8%, respectively (P = 1.00).


Hypokalemia may decrease the SBCE completion rate. Physicians should consider the possibility of hypokalemia after bowel preparation because this condition is not rare. Potassium deficiencies should be rectified prior to performing SBCE procedures to increase the SBCE completion rate.


Completion rate; hypokalemia; small bowel capsule endoscopy

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