Written By Helen Bufton

       Trustee of  LSUK

Pill Cam Examination



Pill-cam procedures are relatively rare in the UK but being Lynch positive means you may at some point need to undergo this examination. Our very own Helen agreed to share her day with us so should we ever need one we can know what to expect.


I have unexplained anaemia and endoscopy / colonoscopy were clear, so I was referred for the pill-cam.


Monday midnight, nothing to eat of drink after this time.


Tuesday 8am, first sachet of the delightful Pickolax, made in a mug so I could pretend it was my morning cuppa. No food, only clear fluids from now on, so I spent most of the day in bed sleeping as I am Shropshire County champion.


4pm, second sachet of Pickolax, this time in a nice wine glass and down in one. Again only clear fluids all day.Wednesday, appointment is at 8am, so no fluids after 6am, 5.55am mug of black coffee and half pint of orange squash.


Got in to see the DR at 8.30, he explained the risks, which was the pill-cam getting stuck. I was number 562 to have this procedure and only 3 had got stuck, 2 were expected not to pass through and 1 was a surprise so involved keyhole surgery to retrieve it.


Shown to a bed where 6 sticky patches (similar to an ECG) were placed on my abdomen, a black box in a bag was slung over my shoulder and I was handed the pill-cam, of course I asked the DR if his hands were clean!!


Mouthful of water and down it went. Back to waiting room for half an hour as it has to pass through stomach and into small bowel before you can leave. Took an hour for this with a little jigging up and down and I was shown live images of my stomach and small bowel which to me was highly interesting.

Was told to steer clear of City centres as the box flashes orange and blue lights!! It records 1 image every 2 seconds while the blue light is flashing.


Back to the unit for 5pm where I noticed the blue light was no longer flashing and was advised it was because the pill-cam had passed through already, never felt a thing.


The 7000 images will be read by the DR, he is the only one within my Hospital Trust who does this and they also only do 4 per week. Report will be with my colorectal consultant the end of next week and I have an appointment with him in June.


This procedure is as reliable as a colonoscopy for detecting adenomas and the only risk is it not passing through.


Many thanks to Helen for sharing her day with us in the name of education!


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