The yield of capsule endoscopy in patients with abdominal pain or diarrhea

L. C. Fry, E. J. Carey, A. D. Shiff, R. I. Heigh, V. K. Sharma, J. K. Post, J. G. Hentz, D. E. Fleischer, J. A. Leighton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background and Study Aims: Capsule endoscopy, proven effective for evaluation of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding and suspected Crohn's disease, is increasingly used to investigate other small-intestine disorders, but its yield for other indications is not well known. We sought to evaluate its yield and findings for abdominal pain or diarrhea. Patients and Methods: Medical records of patients with abdominal pain or diarrhea (> 6 weeks' duration) who underwent capsule endoscopy between August 2001 and June 2004 were retrospectively reviewed for demographic data, indications, findings, diagnoses, complications, and radiologic studies. All patients had previous endoscopic or radiologic examinations (colonoscopy, enteroscopy, upper endoscopy, small-bowel series, computed tomography enterography, or computed tomography) demonstrating no abnormalities sufficient for diagnosis. Results: 64 patients (26 men; 38 women; mean age, 43 years; age range, 19-83 years) who met study criteria had 68 capsule endoscopy studies. Indications were abdominal pain (35 patients), diarrhea (14), or both (15). Complete small-bowel visualization with identification of the cecum was achieved in 81%; yield of positive findings was 9% (6 patients). By indications, the yield was 6% for abdominal pain, 14% for diarrhea, and 13% for both. Diagnoses included Crohn's disease (3), enteropathy induced by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (2), and submucosal tumor (1). Capsule retention occurred in two patients, requiring surgical removal. Conclusions: Capsule endoscopy had a low yield for evaluation of abdominal pain or diarrhea and cannot be recommended as a first-line test without further study. Nonetheless, it facilitated diagnosis in 9% of patients with negative endoscopic and radiologic examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-502
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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