Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital’s gastroenterology team are now going ‘inner space’ to help scan people for intestinal problems.
An advanced ‘capsule endoscopy’ uses state-of-the-art technology to diagnose abnormalities in the small bowel, where traditional endoscopy and colonoscopy tubes cannot reach.
The innovative device involves the patient swallowing a pill sized camera, which then travels through the stomach and intestine taking many images per second of the bowel. It can adjust how fast it is clicking and taking pictures by identifying how fast or slow it is moving through the bowel.
These images are transmitted to a device worn by the patient on a belt. They are then downloaded onto a computer and reviewed by the gastroenterologists, who can diagnose whether the patient is suffering from conditions such as gastrointestinal bleeding, Crohn’s disease or iron deficiency anaemia.
The capsule endoscopy offers a more thorough diagnosis. It is also quicker and more comfortable for the patient. There is no recovery time and no sedation needed for this painless and convenient process. It is expected that around 100 patients a year at Stepping Hill Hospital will benefit.
Patient Noreen Burke, 54, from Offerton in Stockport has iron deficiency anaemia, which leaves her tired and short of breath. She was one of the first to receive the procedure to find out more about the underlying causes of her condition.
Noreen said, “I’m very pleased to be one of the first patients to have this treatment at Stepping Hill, which hopefully will help others as well. The capsule was easy to swallow, and once inside I couldn’t feel it at all. It’s good to find out what problems there may be with the minimum of fuss.”
Wisam Jafar, Clinical Director for Gastroenterology at Stepping Hill Hospital said, “Capsule endoscopy can potentially make a very big difference for many of our patients. This exciting technology will help the gastroenterology team look for and detect abnormalities within the small bowel such as: bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease and polyps. We are delighted to have this innovative advanced technology up and running.”