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Capsule Endoscopy is a term used to describe a miniature capsule used to record images through the digestive tract for use in medicine. This was invented by a group in Baltimore,Md.USA in 1989 ,but there are two others in Israel and Japan disputing it in the US Courts as US patent office issued 3 patents to these 3 groups.The Israeli group worked on this basic concept in the 1990's,but their capsule's battery life was too short at first for the initial designed capsule.The Japanese group developed their capsule in 2001-2002 and received FDA approval in Sept.2007. The capsule, also known as a capsule camera or video pill or PillCam or EndoCapsule or Sayaka, is a camera with the size and shape of a pill used to visualize the gastrointestinal tract. Capsule endoscopy has other names such as Wireless capsule endoscopy, Miniature Ingestible Capsule, and is marketed as EndoCapsule by Olympus Corp.since Oct. 2005 and PillCam by Given Imaging Ltd.since 2001-2002.Given Imaging Co.was started in Israel in 1998 and Microgizzmos was started in the US in 1997. The procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2001. It is an imaging device for the detection of gastrointestinal diseases and has been hailed as a major breakthrough in medical technology.Many improvements in the product are enabling the Camera Capsule to see areas not possible with current endoscopic equipment.Olympus Corp.,a leader in Endoscopy equipment is spending millions in research and development and patents litigation as they now recognize that this Camera Capsule could represent a significant part of diagnostic spending by Hospitals and doctors by 2012 as new studies reveal missed diagnoses of Crohn's,and other cancers besides small bowel bleeding.
Capsule endoscopy is used as a less-invasive procedure in placement of a traditional endoscope, which is a long, thin tube inserted into the rectum and transversed through the colon or into the oral cavity. The technology is used by gastroenterologists to detect diseases such as Crohn's disease, gastric ulcers, and colon cancer. At the present time, the capsule camera is primarily used to visualize the small intestine. Whereas the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, and duodenum) and the colon (large intestine) can be very adequately visualized with scopes (cameras placed at the ends of thin flexible tubes), the small intestine is very long (average 20-25 feet) and very convoluted. No available scope is able to traverse the entire length of the small intestine. Because the capsule is swallowed and travels through the digestive system, capsule endoscopy takes a longer amount of time than traditional endoscopy. The images are of good quality, comparable to those from scopes. The test carries a high sensitivity and specificity for detecting lesions. Early research has shown that capsule endoscopy can detect evidence of disease in some cases that traditional endoscopy cannot.
Much research is occurring in the United States, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and United Kingdom to improve capsule endoscope technology. Sayaka Capsule by RF System of Japan is an advanced capsule with power supplied wirelessly from an external source. In Japan, capsule endoscopy is now approved for use in the small bowel and in Europe, capsule endoscopy is being used for several areas including colon screening since July, 2007. The next major development is to enable the capsule to do other functions that are possible with current traditional endoscopes, besides just imaging with a camera. These include multiple therapeutic and diagnostic operations such as ultrasound, electrocautery, biopsy, laser, and heat with a retractable arm.
- Sidhu, Reena, et al. "Gastrointestinal capsule endoscopy: from tertiary centres to primary care". BMJ, March 4 2006. 332:528-531. doi:10.1136/bmj.332.7540.528.