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Patients swallow 'camera-in-a-pill' to help doctors check for diseases of esophagus, GERD

CHICAGO - A new camera-in-a-pill can help doctors diagnose and evaluate diseases of the esophagus including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), erosive esophagitis and Barrett's esophagus (a pre-cancerous condition) without the use of a traditional endoscope.

"The camera is about the size of a large vitamin pill, and is a non-invasive diagnostic alternative to traditional endoscopy, the most common procedure used to examine the esophagus, " says gastroenterologist Dr. Michael Brown of Rush University Medical Center, the first center in Chicago to offer this to patients.

"In traditional endoscopy, a long, flexible tube (endoscope) is put into the mouth and advanced down the throat into the esophagus. It requires sedation and several hours of recovery.

With the camera pill, we now have a revolutionary technology that offers a quick, easy, office-based test that may help many people avoid traditional endoscopy. It may also encourage more people to see their doctor to get checked for diseases that if caught early can be treated effectively," he said

Brown says patients fast for two hours before swallowing the camera. The smooth plastic capsule is easily swallowed with a glass of water while the patient lies on his back. The patient is raised by a 30-degree angle every two minutes over a six-minute period until he is sitting upright. The capsule makes its way thought the esophagus in about three minutes. It then glides down the esophageal tract taking about 2,600 color digital pictures (14 per second), which are transmitted, to a recording device worn around the patients waist, as a belt. After 20 minutes, the physician has sufficient video images to make an evaluation. The capsule is passed naturally and painlessly from the body within 24 to 72 hours.

Studies show that camera, called PillCam ESO, is comparable in accuracy to traditional endoscopy. Also, unlike traditional endoscopy, the procedure requires no sedation, and pati
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Contact: Mary Ann Schultz
mary_ann_schultz@rush.edu
312-942-7816
Rush University Medical Center
28-Apr-2005


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