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Health Information Advances in Diagnosing Esophageal Disease

Camera-in-a-Pill Checks for Diseases of the Esophagus

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 precancerous condition) without the use of a traditional endoscope.

“The camera is about the size of a large vitamin pill, and is a noninvasive diagnostic alternative to traditional endoscopy, the most common procedure used to examine the esophagus,” says Michael Brown, MD, a gastroenterologist at 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.

“The camera pill offers a quick, easy, office-based test that may help many people avoid traditional endoscopy,” says Brown.

The capsule makes its way through the esophagus in about three minutes. It then glides down the esophageal tract, taking about 2,600 color digital pictures. After 20 minutes, the physician has sufficient video images to make an evaluation.

Studies show that the camera, called PillCam ESO, is comparable in accuracy to traditional endoscopy. But unlike traditional endoscopy, the procedure requires no sedation, and patients can resume normal activity immediately.

For more information or to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, call (888) 352-RUSH (7874).

 

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