A capsule endoscopy (pill cam) is a test done to examine the entire digestive tract instead of just your esophagus, stomach, and upper intestines. The doctor may want you to have this test to determine why you may be having symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal pain, or anemia.
What will the procedure involve?
You will come to the doctor’s office early in the morning, where you will need to swallow a large capsule (similar in size to a vitamin). The capsule contains a small, disposable camera that will take pictures of the inside of your body as it travels through your digestive system. The camera will take multiple pictures and send them to a recorder that will be attached to a belt around your waist.
You should walk frequently to encourage motility so the pill passes through your GI tract during the recording time frame but avoid any strenuous exercise while wearing the belt and do not get it wet. If placed in the office you will return to our office at 4:00 pm to have the recorder and belt removed.
Before the Test
The day before the test, you will need to follow the bowel prep instructions:
STEP 1: On the day before the procedure, you may only have clear liquids starting at noon (12:00 p.m.) and then nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Clear liquids such as: clear juices (no pulp), tea, clear broth, bouillon, jello, popsicles, sports drinks, and water (NOTHING RED). There is no limit to the amount of clear liquids you may have and we encourage you to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
STEP 2: At 4:00 pm
12 years old and older: Take 2 dulcolax (5mg laxative) tablets and 4 capfuls of Miralax with 24oz of a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.
Ages 6-11: Take 1 dulcolax (5mg laxative) tablet and 2 capfuls of Miralax with 24oz of a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.
What to Expect and Instructions for During the Capsule Study
In Office Placement:
- The recorder/belt will be fitted around the waist, you/your child will then swallow the capsule with a cup of water and the nurse will assure that the capsule is connected to the recorder.
- At 11:00 AM, you/your child can drink only clear liquids such as popsicles, juice, gatorade, jello, chicken broth or water. (NOTHING RED OR CARBINATED/NO SOLIDS)
- You/your child will return to the office at 4:00 pm to have the recorder and belt removed and resume regular diet.
Hospital/Surgery Center Placement:
- The recorder/belt will be fitted to you/your child in the endoscopy room and then the patient will given anesthesia. The physician will complete the procedure(s) including placing the capsule. Once the procedure is finished and you/your child are awake, the nurse will offer clear liquids (NOTHING RED OR CARBINATED). The patient will continue with only clear liquids such as popsicles, juice, gatorade, jello, chicken broth or water. (NOTHING RED OR CARBINATED/NO SOLIDS)
- At 7:30 pm, the recorder/belt may removed and a regular diet resumed.
- The recorder/belt needs to be returned to the GI For Kids office (not the hospital/surgery center) the following morning by 9:00 am. (we open at 7:45 am).
*Do not remove the belt or disconnect any of the wires during the study unless instructed to do so. NO MRI testing until the capsule has passed in the stool.
After the Test
The study will be downloaded, reviewed by a physician, and the results will be discussed at the patients next follow up appointment. We will be in contact earlier if we feel that we need to change the plan of care before the appointment.
You/your child should pass the capsule in the stool within 3-5 days. If you have not seen the pill pass by day 6, please contact us so we can set up an x-ray to check for the capsule.
When to Call the Doctor
Please contact us if the patient experiences any abnormal abdominal pain, fever, nausea, or vomiting during or immediately after the test. If the symptoms are severe, please go to the nearest Emergency Department.