Calgary Wireless Capsule Endoscopy Program

Contact Info:

Phone: (403) 956-3804

Fax:     (403) 956-3838

Referral Information:

A capsule endoscopy can be ordered by your gastroenterologist

A capsule endoscopy is a procedure that takes pictures throughout your small intestine to assist with identifying diseases of the small intestine. It allows non-invasive visualization of the small intestine without many of the limitations associated with the usual endoscopic and X-ray procedures.

You will swallow a pill (capsule) that is the size of a large vitamin. The capsule has a camera in it. As the capsule moves through your small intestine, it takes approximately 77 000 colored photos. These photos are transmitted to a sensor belt or leads that are attached to your abdomen that you will wear for 12 hours. The photos are stored on a recorder that is worn in a pouch around your shoulder/waist for that time. This equipment will need to be returned to the clinic the next morning.

You will excrete the capsule naturally during a bowel movement, usually within 2-3 days. It is disposable and can be flushed down the toilet.

A nurse and a gastroenterologist will review the results. A report will be sent to your gastroenterologist and family doctor. Your gastroenterologist will call you to discuss the results.


Capsule Endoscopy FAQ’s:

1)  Do I need to retrieve the capsule?

No. The capsule can be safely flushed down your toilet. However, it is important to ensure that the capsule has moved safely through your GI tract. The nurse will provide you with a stool collection receptacle to assist you with this.  If you do not see the capsule in your stool, the nurse will advise you to complete an x-ray to ensure it is gone.

2) Will I be able to swallow the capsule?

The capsule is 26 mm x 11 mm, about the size of a larger vitamin. Patients who can swallow normal sized pills will swallow the capsule with water without difficulty. In patient’s who have difficulty swallowing, the capsule can be placed directly into the small bowel by your gastroenterologist during a gastroscopy.

3) Can the capsule get stuck?

It is very rare for the capsule to get stuck. A capsule can be retained within the small intestine in approximately 1 in 100 patients. In most cases where this happens, it does not cause harm to the patient and can actually aid in the diagnosis and management of care for those patients. In some cases of a retained capsule, the capsule can cause a blockage in the bowel. This could result in surgery to remove the capsule and assess the area where it was stuck.

4) What can I expect after the test?

After the test you can only drink water for the first two hours. After two hours, you can have other clear fluids (except red colored fluids) and take your regular morning medications (except iron). You can begin eating after 4 hours. You cannot have an MRI or be near a large magnetic field until you have excreted the capsule. You should refrain from heavy lifting or exercise that will make you sweat during the procedure. You will need to return the recorder and sensor belt or array the morning after the test. A nurse will review all of these instructions with you during your appointment.

5) How long will the test take?

You will be in the GI clinic for your appointment for approximately 1 hour. After this time, you will be expected to wear the equipment for 12 hours. At that time, you can remove the equipment. 

Referring Physicians