Capsule endoscopy 'adequate' for esophageal studies

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health), Oct 31 - Capsule endoscopy to evaluate the esophagus is a reasonable alternative to conventional upper endoscopy in certain patients, according to Spanish researchers.

As lead investigator Dr. Andres Sanchez-Yague told Reuters Health, capsule endoscopy "is a valuable non-invasive screening option in patients unable or unwilling to undergo standard endoscopy."

In the September issue of the European Journal Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Dr. Sanchez-Yague and colleagues at Virgen Macarena University Hospital, Seville report on 30 consecutive capsule examinations carried out in 28 patients who had refused to undergo conventional endoscopy.

Most had symptoms of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the remainder had cirrhosis and required screening for esophageal varices. Esophageal erosions were seen in 58% of the GERD patients and varices were detected in 80% of the cirrhosis patients.

The team concludes that "esophageal capsule endoscopy is an adequate alternative" to upper GI endoscopy in this setting.

Almost all patients found the capsule easy to swallow and characterized the procedure as comfortable and, if needed, all were prepared to repeat the procedure.

The capsule approach, Dr. Sanchez-Yague continued, "allows us to study some esophageal conditions and indicate appropriate treatment in some patients that would otherwise remain untreated."

"As a screening modality," he concluded, "it will also help us recommend further diagnostic or therapeutic measures in selected patients."

By David Douglas

Last Updated: 2006-10-31 11:14:12 -0400 (Reuters Health)

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006;18:977-983.

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