St Mark's HospitalLondon North West Healthcare

Video Capsule Endoscopy

What is Video Capsule Endoscopy?

Video Capsule Endoscopy involves swallowing a small (the size of a large vitamin pill) capsule, which contains a colour video camera, battery, light source and transmitter. The camera takes two pictures every second for 8 hours, transmitting images to a data recorder about the size of a portable CD player that patients wear around the waist.

Once swallowed, the camera moves naturally through the digestive tract while patients carry out their normal activities. Approximately eight hours after ingesting the camera, patients return the recording device to the nurse so the images can be downloaded to a computer and evaluated. The video capsule endoscope is disposable and will be excreted naturally in your bowel movement.

Capsule endoscopy assists in diagnosing gastrointestinal conditions affecting the small bowel, such as obscure gastrointestinal bleeding, malabsorption, chronic abdominal pain and chronic diarrhoea. 

Day before the procedure

  • Please click here to download the patient information sheet.

Day of the procedure

  • Arrive in the Wolfson Endoscopy Unit between 8.00am and 8.30am
  • Admission and placement of sensor array and data recorder
  • Capsule swallowed with small amount of water
  • 2 hours after ingestion of capsule clear fluids can be started
  • A light snack may then be eaten approximately 4 hours after swallowing the capsule
  • 8 hours after the swallowing the capsule a normal diet may be resumed