Video Capsule Endoscopy and Histology for Small-Bowel Mucosa Evaluation: A Comparison Performed by Blinded Observers

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Background & Aims:

In view of the excellent quality of the images obtained and its magnification capability, videocapsule endoscopy was proposed as a promising tool to evaluate the degree of duodenal villous atrophy. We studied whether the capsule can discriminate different degrees of mucosal damage caused by different conditions; we also evaluated interobserver and intraobserver variability in the assessment of villous atrophy with the capsule.


Thirty-two patients underwent both gastroscopy with multiple duodenal biopsies and videocapsule endoscopy. Twenty-six had different forms of celiac disease with different stages of villous atrophy; 5 patients had irritable bowel syndrome and 1 had Crohn’s disease. Videocapsule findings were evaluated blindly by 3 observers. Histologic Marsh criteria and a specifically developed classification of videocapsule mucosal patterns were used to compare videocapsule findings and histology.


The study of the correlation between videocapsule and histologic findings showed a Kappa statistic of .45, .49, and .51 for observers 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The sensitivity was 90.5% for observer 1 and 95.2% for observers 2 and 3; the specificity was 63.6% for all observers.


Videocapsule findings regarding the degree of intestinal mucosal atrophy show only moderate agreement with the histologic pattern; they have a very high sensitivity but a disappointing specificity. This method therefore cannot be proposed as an alternative to traditional biopsy examinations, but it suggests that a duodenal biopsy examination should be performed when an atrophic mucosal pattern is observed in patients undergoing videocapsule examination for other reasons.

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