The Latest on Ingestible Capsule Endoscopes

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Last year, Olympus and Siemens announced a partnership to create a magnetically guided endoscope capsule. The patient swallows the capsule and then a joystick paired with a magnetic field maneuvers the capsule. Once in place, cameras at both ends of the capsule transmit to a viewer. A feasibility study by the Institut Arnault Tzanck in Saint Laurent du Var in France suggests the procedure could be useful for gastric examinations, the results were published last year and the technology is expected to be released shortly.

Volunteers participating in the study found the procedure to be fairly easy to undergo as well with 93 percent saying the examination was comfortable and 89 percent finding it easy to swallow the pill. All the patients preferred the magnetically guided capsule to the conventional gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Meanwhile, Olympus continues to improve its capsule endoscope technology and is marketing the EC Type 1 charged-couple device. It has automatic brightness control and a structure enhancement function that allows the endoscopist to see lesions and blood in real-time on a hand-held display while capturing images for later review and report creation. Proprietary software allows the doctor to move through 40 frames per second, automatically detecting red marks and letting the physician compare four images at a time side-by-side.

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