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Gregory Endoscopy Centre now offering pill camera endoscopy

Pill Camera

For inpatients at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital who had gastrointestinal bleeding and who have had a colonoscopy or endoscopy that did not identify a source of bleeding, the Gregory Endoscopy Centre is now offering video capsule endoscopy (VCE). The technology can also be used for patients with unexplained iron deficient anemia or if Crohn’s disease is suspected even after normal imaging and normal scopes.

“Unlike a traditional endoscopy, VCE requires less prep and is less invasive,” says Gregory Endoscopy Centre staff nurse Kristyn Shields, RN, who championed the use of VCE technology on the inpatient units. “After preparation, the patient simply has to swallow the pill camera.”

VCE provides a more complete picture of what’s going on inside the patient’s digestive system, taking two to three pictures per second during an eight-hour study. When the study is complete, a recorder, which is worn on a belt around the waist, automatically shuts off and stores the pictures. The pill camera capsule does not need to be retrieved. It breaks down into smaller pieces that pass easily.

Ambulatory Nurse Director Kathleen Merrigan, MSN, RN, who oversees the Gregory Endoscopy Centre, is pleased that her staff is able to offer this technology to the patients on the inpatient units. “In the past, when a GI fellow ordered VCE, our patients needed to be transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital by ambulance. Now, we can keep them right here and perform the same important test. We simply send the images recorded by the pill camera over to the main campus to be interpreted. Not only is this a huge cost-savings, but it’s much easier on the patient. Truly this is about improving the patient experience.”

Currently, VCE is offered only to inpatients at BWFH. In the future, Merrigan and her staff hope to be able to offer the technology to outpatients as well.

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