Capsule endoscopy effective in diagnosing gastrointestinal bleeding and small bowel Crohn's disease in children

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Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have shown that capsule endoscopy is effective in diagnosing gastrointestinal bleeding and small bowel Crohn's disease in children.

The technology has been used successfully at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for more than five years to diagnose unexplained abdominal bleeding in adults.

“By using the device, which is not much bigger than a vitamin pill and can be swallowed with a glass of water, the diagnosis can eliminate what used to require an IV, sedation and a long scope in children,” says Anthony Infantolino, M.D., clinical director of Endoscopic Ultrasound and Photodynamic Therapy and co-director of the Gastrointestinal Bleeding Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

The study looked at the success of the device and conclude that it is effective and successful in three areas:

  • In expediting the diagnosis and treatment of small bowel disease.
  • In detecting the presence, activity and severity of small bowel Crohn's disease.
  • Of improving diagnosis while limiting radiation exposure to children with Crohn's disease.

In conducting the research, 34 patients, whose ages range from 7 to 19 years, underwent capsule endoscopy procedure. The subjects qualified because they were experiencing unexplained abdominal pain, GI bleeding, diarrhea, anemia and weight loss.

All were able to swallow the capsule easily. Abnormal findings were seen in 25 (74 percent) of the patients. Four patients who were originally diagnosed as not having Crohn's disease using conventional radiographic and endoscopic studies, had diagnostic findings consistent with Crohn's disease on capsule endoscopy.

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