State-of-the-art camera pill at Welwyn Garden City hospital

REVOLUTIONARY new camera pills that can take images of the entire digestive system are now being used at the QE2 Hospital. The East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs the WGC hospital, has introduced the procedure, called wireless capsule

REVOLUTIONARY new camera pills that can take images of the entire digestive system are now being used at the QE2 Hospital.

The East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs the WGC hospital, has introduced the procedure, called wireless capsule endoscopy.

Previously, patients experiencing unexplained bleeding in the intestine have had to undergo conventional endoscopy examinations, which involve manually inserting a narrow viewing tube down into the stomach.

These could only examine the first 10cm or so of the small intestine.


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But now patients simply swallow one of the new hi-tech pills and allow it to pass through their system, meaning the entire five to seven metres of the small intestine can be photographed.

Dr Kote Samsheer, consultant gastroenterologist and specialist in the procedure, said: "Investigating the small bowel has always been a challenge as the conventional endoscopes only examine the stomach and a very small part of the small intestine. Capsule endoscopy can image the entire small bowel and involves no sedation.

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"Before now patients would also have been stuck on a long waiting list at a London hospital for this procedure but now that's not necessary.

"It also does away with unnecessary x-ray tests which are less reliable, more expensive, time consuming and expose patients to radiation.

"All in all this is great news for people in Hertfordshire."

Patients are first fitted with a special data recorder on a belt, which will receive the images from the capsule.

The capsule they swallow consists of a camera, a light source and a wireless circuit to acquire and transmit signals.

It moves through the gastrointestinal tract, transmitting around 54,000 images to the data recorder in an eight-hour period.

The trust is one of just 10 across the country using the new technology.

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