Endoscopy 2005; 37(9): 808-815
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-870220
Original Article
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Does Passage of a Patency Capsule Indicate Small-Bowel Patency? A Prospective Clinical Trial?

M.  L.  Boivin1 , H.  Lochs1 , W.  A.  Voderholzer1
  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Universitätsklinikum Charité, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Submitted 31 March 2005

Accepted after Revision 9 May 2005

Publication Date:
22 August 2005 (online)


Background and Study Aims: At many centers wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) without prior radiographic examination to rule out relevant strictures is considered to be contraindicated in suspected obstructive small-bowel disease. However, the accuracy of radiography in this situation has often been questioned. The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate the feasibility and safety of the recently developed patency capsule, and its predictive value regarding the clinical relevance of radiographic small-bowel strictures.
Patients and Methods: 22 patients with suspected obstructive small-bowel disease and/or radiological evidence of small-bowel strictures underwent a patency capsule examination. Intact passage, patient experience of pain, and capsule disintegration were correlated with radiographic findings, clinical variables, and outcome.
Results: 13 patients passed an intact capsule without complaints, despite radiographically observed small-bowel stenosis; the subsequent video capsule examination was uneventful in all. In nine patients either intact passage was painful or the capsule disintegrated; in one of these, impaction of an intact capsule led to an ileus and emergency surgery. The type of capsule passage did not correlate with radiographic presence of a stricture, underlying diagnosis, or previous surgery. There was a statistically significant correlation between outcome (surgery performed or recommended) and occurrence of painful capsule passage and disintegration (P ≤ 0.05).
Conclusions: Painless egestion of an intact patency capsule indicates safety of WCE. Patients without obstructive symptoms require neither small-bowel radiography nor a patency capsule study prior to WCE. Disintegration of the patency capsule or painful passage seems to be associated with a clinically relevant small-bowel stricture and with a high probability of surgery.


M. L. Boivin, M. D.

Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology

Campus Charité Mitte · Schumannstraße 20/21 · 10117 Berlin · Germany

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Email: [email protected]