New Camera Pill Offers Less-Invasive Option to Endoscopy

September 18, 2006

A new camera-in-a-pill is helping specialists at Strong Memorial Hospital of the University of Rochester Medical Center diagnose complications of liver disease without an invasive endoscope. Called the PillCamTMESO, the technology is akin to a camera pill introduced in Rochester by Strong in 2002 to image the small intestine. This new version is helping Strong physicians diagnose and monitor esophageal varices, a serious and very common complication of liver disease, without the need for traditional endoscopy.

“The PillCam is a complement to standard endoscopy and is beneficial because it is non-invasive and is administered without IV sedation, so the patient is up and around quickly, usually in less than 10 minutes,” said Parvez S. Mantry, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine and director of Transplant Hepatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Once a patient swallows the pill, it glides down the esophagus, taking about 14 color digital pictures per second, transmitting them to a recording device worn outside the patient’s body. The pictures are subsequently downloaded as a video for review by Mantry and his team. Several studies have shown that the pictures obtained by the PillCam are comparable in accuracy to traditional endoscopy.

“We are enthusiastic about piloting this novel technology in the Rochester area for patients with chronic liver diseases and have even had patients travel from hours away who have benefited from its use,” Mantry said.

Despite its benefits for patients in terms of no sedation and quicker recovery, PillCam is not yet covered by all insurance programs.

For more information or to refer patients, please call (585) 275-4711.

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Lori Barrette
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