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New Advances in Gastric Diagnostics: Smaller is Better


In recent years, miniaturization has opened up exciting possibilities in the area of gastric diagnostics. New technology may make routine GI diagnostic procedures as simple as swallowing a vitamin pill-sized encapsulated unit in the not-too-far future, and the present reality is that these units are becoming valuable adjuncts to traditional diagnostics.

Capsule endoscopy (enteroscopy): miniaturized viewing

The Given system, approved by the FDA in August, 2001, allows physiciansfor the first timeto directly view past the first few feet of the small bowel. It can provide valuable diagnostic information, and patients no longer need to undergo traumatic procedures such as push enteroscopy.

The miniaturized endoscopy unit, also called the M2A (for mouth to anus) is swallowed with a drink of water. Patients are unable to feel the unit, and go about normal activities while recording is done. Eight hours later, when the capsule has been propelled through the small intestine system by normal peristalsis, the recorder is removed and the digital data downloaded into a computer for viewing.

The Given capsulized system can provide images for the entire GI tract. It shows promise in diagnosing small bowel diseases including Crohns disease, celiac disease, chronic diarrhea, and pediatric GI disorders. It provides accuracy rates of roughly 55 percent, which is better than current rates for push enteroscopy.

Miniaturized pH Monitoring System

Medtronic has developed the first wireless ambulatory pH monitoring system. This miniaturized system is about the size of a gel capsule, measuring 6X6X26 mm. The Bravo pH monitoring system is tolerated better by patients than traditional transnasal catheters (which are usually only tolerated for about 24 hours). The Bravo can transmit pH levels for up to 48 hours, providing more data for making diagnostic decisions.

The Bravo can provide better and more reliable data for evaluatin
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