A new study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology suggests that wireless capsule endoscopy is a useful and safe technique to study small bowel health in children.
While the technology has become widely used in adult treatment, this is the first study to examine its use in pediatrics.
"The small bowel has always been difficult to evaluate, due to its size and many convolutions," says study author Gian Luigi de' Angelis, a professor with the University of Parma, Italy. "This small camera can follow the entire length of the bowel, helping us to identify signs of disease and damage that would otherwise be impossible to view in children."
The camera, encased in a capsule that can be swallowed or placed into the stomach, travels through the digestive system naturally and painlessly, reducing the need for invasive tests, anesthesia or radiation related to more traditional scanning techniques.
Professor de' Angelis is hopeful about the technology, but does encourage caution in pediatric use. "Our experience, which includes the largest number of pediatric patients reported in literature, confirms that this technology is a very useful system for the clinical work in suspected small-bowel diseases in infancy," he says. "However, the high rate of positive examination is due to the very careful selection of the patients."