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Pill Cam helps doctors diagnose intestinal problems - abc27 WHTM

Pill Cam helps doctors diagnose intestinal problems

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LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) -

People go to see the digestive health specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital to figure out what is causing their discomfort.

There is a host of diseases and complications that could be the culprit.

It is Dr. Bob Schade's job to figure out what the problem is, usually with an endoscope, but that is not the best option.

"It leaves that 26 feet of small intestine that we can't look at because the scopes are either not long enough, or we use a special scope that's a very long procedure," Schade said.

Typically, the procedure is an hour or two long and the patient has to be under anesthesia, but thanks to medical technology, there is another way: the pill cam.

"Inside that little device is a flash, a lens, a camera and a radio transmitter," Schade said.

The device is only about an inch long; no bigger than a large vitamin. Just like a normal pill, you simply swallow it.

"On the belt, you're wearing the receiver. So, as it traverses down the gut, we see pictures every half second which we then play back on our computer," Schade said.

For doctors, Schade said the pill cam is the best way to check for problems in the small intestine.

"There are two main indications for its use. One is to look for patients who have recurring bleeding and we've not found the source from above or below with a scope. The other major thing to look for is inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease," Schade said.

And for patients, Schade said the pill cam is the safest and most comfortable option.

The risks with the capsule are quite few. The main risk is having it get stuck," Schade said. "You may see it flash when it comes out in the toilet, but otherwise you won't know that you have it."

It takes an average of eight hours for the pill cam to run its course.

Schade said the pill cam does not replace a colonoscopy.

For more information, visit http://www.givenimaging.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx

 

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