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What is a Capsule Endoscopy?

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Patient Education Information Sheet

North Florida/South Georgia

Veterans Health System (NF/SGVHS)

Medical Day Stay Unit Service, GI Section

What is a Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy, often referred to as the “pill camera,” is one way to look at the entire small intestine. The capsule, which is the size of a large pill, is swallowed. The pill travels through the intestine taking two pictures per second. A recorder worn on a belt holds the pictures. A doctor will review the pictures on a computer. You will pass the capsule in the stool.

Why Do I Need The Test?
You may need the test if you have symptoms, such as blood in your bowel movements (BMs). Symptoms may also include chronic (long-term) stomach pain and diarrhea (liquid BMs). The pictures may show if you have growths, swelling, and bleeding areas in your small bowel. The pictures from this test may show signs of Crohn’s or Celiac disease. The test may help you and your doctor learn the cause of your symptoms. Learning what is causing your symptoms may allow you to receive needed treatment and prevent further problems.
What Do I Need To Do For The Test?

The Day Before the Test

  1. You may have a regular breakfast and a regular lunch. After lunch, you will start a clear liquid diet. You may have clear liquids until 10:00pm the night before your capsule endoscopy. (Nothing to eat or drink after 10:00pm!)


TEA - no cream


COFFEE - no cream


JELL-O - not red



POPSICLES - not red

GATORADE - not red

LIFESAVERS - not red



CRANBERRY JUICE - natural juice

KOOL-AID - not red

  1. You may take your necessary medications with a sip of water the morning of your test at least 2 hours before your scheduled appointment time.

  2. Do not smoke 24 hours before the test.

  3. Stop taking Carafate, Maalox, Mylanta, Pepto Bismol, and other similar medications 24 hours prior to the test.

Stop all iron supplements 5 days before your test

The Day of Your Capsule Endoscopy

  1. Arrive at Malcom Randall VA Medical Center (1601 SW Archer Road Gainesville, Fl. 32608) Medical Day Stay Unit/Gastrointestinal Lab (MDSU/GI Lab) at 7:30AM, wearing loose fitting, two-piece clothing. You will return to the MDSU/GI Lab at 4:00PM to have the DataRecorder removed.

  2. At the Endoscopy Center, you will be checked in and asked to give your informed consent.

  3. Small sensors will be taped on your abdomen and connected to a recorder. The recorder will be attached to a belt that you will wear around your waist. After that, you will be instructed to swallow the capsule (which is called the PillCam SB2 capsule).

After Swallowing the PillCam SB Capsule

  1. After swallowing the PillCam SB capsule, do not eat or drink for 4 hours. After 4 hours, you may have a light snack, such as chicken noodle soup or Jell-O (non-red). After the test is done, you may return to your normal diet. These instructions apply unless your doctor tells you differently.

  2. Contact the office at once at (352) 376-1611 ext. 7613 if you suffer from any abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting during the testing.

  3. Do not lift, stoop, or bend over during the testing. Also avoid strenuous activity that may make you sweat.

  4. While you are wearing the DataRecorder, you will need to check (about every 30 minutes) that the light on the top of the DataRecorder is blinking twice per second. If it stops blinking at this rate, record the time and call our office. You should also record the time and nature of any event such as eating, drinking, activity, and unusual sensations.

  5. After swallowing the PillCam SB2, and until it is passed, you should not be near any source of powerful electromagnetic fields, such as one created near an MRI device or amateur (ham) radio. Occasionally, some images may be lost due to radio interference. On rare occasions, this may result in the need to repeat the SB Capsule Endoscopy testing.

  6. The Capsule Endoscopy lasts approximately 8 hours.
    Do not disconnect the equipment or remove the belt at any time during this period. Since the DataRecorder is actually a small computer, it should be treated with utmost care and protection. Avoid sudden movement and banging of the DataRecorder.

Contact: If you have any questions regarding your prep, or if you need to change the date of your procedure, please call (352) 376-1611 ext. 7613.

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