Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My HealtheVet badge
EBenefits Badge

Camera Pill Takes Photographs Inside Veterans at Houston VA

July 21, 2004

Camera Pill Takes Photographs Inside Veterans at Houston VA

Doctors can now examine the digestive tract using new, advanced technology.
read description below
The disposable, miniature video camera contained in a capsule is a new diagnostic tool allowing medical professionals at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to view areas of the small intestine not reachable through an endoscope or seen by typical x-rays. Waqar A. Qureshi, M.D., MEDVAMC associate professor of medicine and chief of endoscopy, Digestive Disease Section demonstrates the camera pill is no bigger than a large vitamin tablet.

photo by: Frances Burke, MEDVAMC Public Affairs Specialis

t

Released: 2004/07/21

HOUSTON, TX - The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) now offers new medical treatment technology for veterans suffering from a range of gastro-intestinal disorders. The disposable, miniature video camera contained in a capsule is a new diagnostic tool allowing medical professionals at the MEDVAMC to view areas of the small intestine not reachable through an endoscope or seen by typical x-rays.

The camera pill is the size of a large vitamin tablet and is swallowed with water. As the camera makes its way through the digestive tract, color images are taken every two seconds, transmitting an average of 50,000 photographs to a wireless hard drive worn by the patient for approximately eight hours on a belt around his or her waist.

"This new camera in a pill is non-invasive, pain free and allows a veteran to continue his or her daily routine, go to work, go to the store, as the pill does its job," said Waqar A. Qureshi, M.D., MEDVAMC associate professor of medicine and chief of endoscopy, Digestive Disease Section.

The camera photographs the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and usually stops taking pictures somewhere in the colon. The disposable camera then exits in a bowel movement. The information from the hard drive is downloaded into a special computer program and played back as a movie sequence for the physician.

The camera helps doctors spot problems as small as abnormal blood vessels, which can indicate internal bleeding or small ulcers. This new technology is extremely effective in diagnosing digestive diseases such as Crohn's disease, tumors of the small intestine, and blood loss of undetermined origin. This procedure is not for everyone. Specific indicators are looked at thoroughly by the physician to determine if the camera pill is the best means of diagnosing a condition. The camera pill does not replace colonoscopies or endoscopes because it cannot take tissue samples.

"Methods of diagnosing digestive problems have come a long way in just the past few decades and veterans at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center continue to benefit from these scientific advances in medicine," said Qureshi.

# # #

Point of Contact: VHAHOU Public Affairs

07/21/2004