WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. A small capsule that takes snapshots of the small intestine as it moves through the digestive tract helped doctors spot cases of Crohns disease that had gone undiagnosed for up to 15 years, according to researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Reporting this week at the American College of Gastroenterologys meeting in Philadelphia, the researchers said that of 198 video capsule endoscopies that were performed to evaluate unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding, physicians found six cases of Crohns disease that hadnt been diagnosed previously, despite the patients having colonoscopies and a variety of other imaging tests.
The study is the first to evaluate the prevalence of the Crohns disease (about 3 percent) among patients having capsule endoscopy to evaluate unexplained bleeding.
With capsule endoscopy, we were able to diagnose cases that previously were difficult or impossible to diagnose, said Richard Bloomfeld, M.D., gastroenterologist and senior researcher. Some of the patients had been having transfusions for years because of anemia from unexplained bleeding.
The research was presented by Sakeitha Crowder, M.D., a resident in internal medicine.
Capsule endoscopy has become a standard tool to evaluate unexplained bleeding in the stomach and intestines. Patients swallow a small capsule containing a video camera that takes two images per second over eight hours.
It allows us to see 20 feet of small intestine between the stomach and large intestine areas that we cannot reach with other tests, said Bloomfeld. Its easy, painless and requires no sedation.
Crohns disease is a disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. It is generally easy to diagnose with a colonoscopy or through symptoms that include abdominal pain and diarrhea. In some cases, however, the disease affects part of the intestine that cannot be reached with colonoscopy.
|Contact: Karen Richardson|
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center