New era for endoscopy as Stafford hospital introduces camera pill


First patients treated with innovative device for diagnosis of bowel conditions

Gastroenterologists at Stafford Hospital are breaking new ground by using a tiny camera contained within a pill to get a full picture of patients’ intestines.

Following a successful pilot, funded by the Stafford & Cannock League of Hospital Friends, Dr Nick Bosanko and nurse, Faye Beard, are now offering the service to patients across the county.

The pill is ideal for viewing the small intestine in patients who are anaemic or who may have inflammation in the small bowel from conditions such as Crohn’s disease.

It is swallowed by the patient, who is then free to go back to work or home. On its journey down through the oesophagus and the intestines, the camera takes up to 80,000 images, which are transmitted to a data recorder worn on a belt.

Eight hours after swallowing the pill, the patient returns to the department where the belt is removed and the images download. The pill containing the camera is disposable and is simply flushed away by the patient.

Dr Bosanko said: “Capsule endoscopy is an amazing piece of technology which has been used worldwide, but has previously not been available at any of the hospitals in Staffordshire. This is a painless and non-invasive procedure and avoids X-ray radiation or very invasive and potentially uncomfortable endoscopy tests, which have traditionally been used to image the small bowel.

“Funding new procedures in the NHS is a difficult issue at the moment and we are very grateful to the Stafford & Cannock League of Hospital Friends, which provided us with the money to purchase the required equipment and trial the capsule. This investment was to improve the experience of our patients and has provided us with the opportunity to demonstrate just how effective the pill cam can be.”

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Patient, Frank Whitehead, who was one of the first people to undergo the procedure, added: ‘The pill was really easy to swallow and hopefully it will allow them to give me a speedy diagnosis.”