New Diagnostic Method for Bowel Diseases at Asklepios Clinic
Digestive system disorders are probably one the most bothersome health issues that may affect any person. Even a simple pain in the belly can then become a serious disease. Recent advances in medical tools made possible to fight various diseases of stomach and bowels and overall led to the better patient care.
Intestines are one of the most vulnerable organs in the human body. The small intestine is the longest part of the digestive system. It connects the stomach to the large intestine and folds many times to fit inside of the abdomen. Diseases affecting the small intestine are very common and known as one of the most dangerous. They negatively influence the quality of life. Prompt medical evaluation with the newest technologies is needed in order to diagnose and start the treatment as soon as possible.
The Asklepios Clinic at Bad Oldesloe offers the so-called capsule endoscopy for the diagnosis of the small intestine diseases. Until the introduction of capsule endoscopy, the four- to six-meter long small intestine was considered a "blind spot" in diagnostic imaging. Neither by gastroscopy nor by colonoscopy this area has been extensively studied so far.
"I am pleased to offer capsule endoscopy to our patients. In this way, we are expanding our range of diagnostic tools by one important option. This will help with clarification of certain disorders, such as anemia, bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, malformations of the blood vessels or tumor diagnostics," says Dr. Peter Wellhöner, chief physician of internal medicine and gastroenterology at the Asklepios clinic Bad Oldesloe.
Capsule endoscopy diagnosis is based on state-of-the-art technology. It consists of a video capsule with a size of a tablet with a tiny micro-camera chip. After a patient has swallowed the small camera, the instrument moves through the whole body within six to eight hours and sends data to a recording device during that time. The data recorder, which is worn on a belt around the waist, receives the images sent from the capsule in the body. In order to receive the signals, sensors are attached to the patient’s belly similar to ECG electrodes. The total of approximately 55,000 pictures sent from inside the body is transferred to a computer by the data recorder as a video film. The camera is powered solely by the natural movements of the human gut and excreted naturally. "The procedure is safe and made very comfortable for patients. Another advantage is that the patient can move freely and follow his or her normal daily routine," explains Dr. Wellhöner. In the evaluation of the data, internists can determine the speed with which the recordings are taken and individually check conspicuous places of each picture.
As a precautionary measure, the patient does not have to prepare for a bowel-cleansing exam, as in case of a classic colonoscopy. As a rule, it is enough to take only clear liquids after lunch the day before the examination.
"However, conventional gastrointestinal studies will not become fundamentally replaced by this new method," says Dr. Wellhöner. In patients with known risk factors such as inflammatory bowel disease or already performed surgery, bottlenecks of GI tract must be precluded by X-ray examination.
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