Capsule endoscopy (CE) has an excellent safety profile. Although retention is the most cited complication, capsule aspiration is less frequent and is often reported only as isolated cases. This study represents a systematic effort to compile and scrutinize the available data on capsule aspiration to provide comprehensive and conclusive information on this CE complication.Materials and methods
A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure. The search terms used were ‘capsule endoscopy’ AND ‘aspiration’ (both terms searched as keyword and MeSH). We included case reports and/or series on capsule aspiration, as well as observational cohort studies that reported capsule aspiration among their complications/outcomes.Results
Thirty-four case reports with 37 cases of capsule aspiration were identified. A further four observational studies reported aspiration as part of a cohort of patients undergoing CE. 94.6% of aspirations occurred in elderly men. 87.1% had significant comorbidities. 59.5% had symptoms on aspiration, with cough reported most frequently. The most common location of aspiration was the right main bronchus. Half of the patients required intervention for capsule retrieval; bronchoscopy was the most common management, with good effect. There was a single fatality following capsule aspiration, not directly related to the procedure, and one case of aspiration pneumonia. Outcomes were good for all other patients. The estimated overall aspiration rate is 0.1%.Conclusion
Although very rare and generally safely managed, capsule aspiration should be anticipated in certain patient groups and capsule administration should be approached with necessary precautions.