Wireless Capsule Endoscopy in Children: A Study to Assess Diagnostic Yield in Small Bowel Disease in Paediatric Patients

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Background and Aim:

Small bowel disease in the paediatric population is varied and to date has relied on indirect l modalities such as small bowel follow-through with attendant radiation exposure. Wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) has the potential to provide a safer and more effective means of investigating the paediatric small bowel. The aim of our study was to prospectively assess the diagnostic yield of WCE compared with standard investigation in children with suspected small bowel disease.


Twenty-eight consecutive patients, median age 12.5 y (range, 9.4–15.9) with suspected small bowel disease were investigated with WCE. This included 16 patients with suspected small bowel Crohn disease (CD) (10 newly diagnosed; 6 known cases), 6 with obscure or occult gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB), 3 with Peutz-Jegher polyposis (PJP), 2 with protein-losing enteropathy and 1 with recurrent abdominal pain. All of the patients had preceding upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (OGD) and ileocolonoscopy, and 24 had a barium meal and follow-through (BMFT). Images were downloaded and analysed and results compared with the endoscopic and radiological findings.


Three patients were unable to swallow the capsule (1 CD, 1 PJP and 1 GIB). Two of these patients (1 GIB, 1 PJP) had the capsule placed in the stomach endoscopically and completed the WCE uneventfully thereafter. In 3 patients (CD group) the capsule remained in the stomach and/or proximal duodenum and no small bowel images were obtained. Hence, 24 patients had successful completion of the WCE through the small bowel, 23 of whom had clinically relevant findings identified. In all patients with CD who had successful WCE studies (12/16), small bowel disease was identified (11/12 active disease, 1/12 chronic disease). A possible small bowel bleeding source was identified in all 6 patients with GIB. Two patients with GIB also underwent push enteroscopy and 1 of these had a bleeding source identified. The 2 patients with protein-losing enteropathy had extensive patchy lymphangiectasia of the jejunum and ileum, not detected at OGD. The patient with abdominal pain had an intussusception of the upper jejunum. The 2 PJP patients had small bowel polyps identified, which were not detected at BMFT. WCE was more sensitive for small bowel pathology than both BMFT (19 vs 5; 26% sensitivity compared with WCE) and endoscopic investigations (23 vs 10; 43.4% sensitivity compared with WCE). Two patients with CD had delayed capsule transit.


WCE led to a positive alteration in management in 18/24 (75%) of patients whose small bowel was examined by WCE and in 18/28 (64.3%) who were admitted to the study. WCE was safe, well tolerated, and more sensitive than radiological and standard endoscopic modalities in the detection of small bowel CD distribution, GIB source, and presence of polyps in children.

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