Capsule endoscopy (CE) is a new technology that has been shown to have superior diagnostic yield compared with other methods of evaluating the small bowel. However, there have not been many studies supporting capsule endoscopy's impact on clinical outcomes. This study is a chart review evaluating the diagnostic yield and the impact of CE on management and clinical outcomes.
Retrospective chart review was performed on 145 patients who had undergone capsule endoscopy. Demographic characteristics, indication, prior diagnostic tests, capsule findings, interventions, and clinical outcomes up to 8 months following CE were evaluated. Indications included five main categories that were overt gastrointestinal (GI) bleed, occult GI bleed, abdominal pain, Crohn's disease, and iron deficiency anemia. Findings on capsule endoscopy were classified into angiodysplasias, ulcers, gastritis and/or duodenitis, ulcers suggestive of Crohn's and normal findings. Interventions performed based on capsule findings were recorded, which included the discontinuation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), further diagnostic or therapeutic studies, increase in medications, and surgery. Positive outcomes including stabilization or improvement of hemoglobin, decreased need for transfusions, improved symptoms of pain, and a decrease in medications based on interventions were assessed.
There were 145 patients who underwent CE. The indications for CE were overt GI bleed (38%), occult GI bleed (22%), abdominal pain (20%), Crohn's (12%), iron deficiency anemia (2.7%), and miscellaneous (4%). Eighty percent achieved completion and 6 patients had complications of capsule retention with 4 requiring surgery. The overall diagnostic yield was 69% and included findings of angiodysplasias (24%), intestinal ulcers (13%) gastritis or duodenitis (13.8%), ulcers suggestive of Crohn's disease (8.9%), and mass or polyp (3.4%). Based on capsule findings, 35.8% of patients had an intervention. Of the patients who received intervention, 71.7% had a positive clinical outcome (P= 0.032).
The high diagnostic yield of CE influences clinical management leading to improved outcomes. However, the utility of CE may be greater in patients who are referred for certain indications or have specific findings. Additional studies are needed to clarify the role of capsule endoscopy in the evaluation of various indications as well as identify factors associated with positive outcomes.