An endoscopy is a procedure that allows a physician to see the inside of the esophagus and stomach. Until recently, this procedure involved placing a small flexible tube called an endoscope into the patient’s mouth and down into the stomach. At times, the physician must look even deeper, and the small intestine must also be viewed for potential damage or disease. As you can well imagine, this procedure has the potential to be quite traumatic for babies and children.
Soon, parents may be able to choose a much friendlier method of internal investigation, especially if the small intestine of the patient needs to be observed. Wireless capsule endoscopy is an emerging technology, and data are just now becoming available for the pediatric population. Wireless capsule endoscopy, also known as the video pill, is a camera in the size and shape of a pill that can be used to visualize the gastrointestinal tract.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology recently published results from the largest study to date investigating this technology. This investigation included children as young as 18 months. In this research study, 87 Italian youth patients were observed to determine the safety, tolerance and applicability of wireless capsule endoscopy. The results provided evidence that wireless capsule endoscopy may be a very safe and useful system to investigate the small bowel in infants and children.
Like many aspects of acid reflux treatment, there is no agreed upon consensus for when an endoscopy should be performed. Your healthcare team members will make that recommendation based on the patient’s health and their experience. If they do feel that the small intestine needs to be viewed, ask them if they are aware of the new findings about wireless capsule technology.