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Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but frequently involves the small and large bowel. Typical presenting symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea. Patients with this disorder may also have extraintestinal manifestations, including arthritis, uveitis, and skin lesions. The PillCamâ„¢SB capsule is an ingestible disposable video camera that transmits high quality images of the small intestinal mucosa. This enables the small intestine to be readily accessible to physicians investigating for the presence of small bowel disorders, such as Crohn's disease. Four meta-analyses have demonstrated that capsule endoscopy identifies Crohn's disease when other methods are not helpful. It should be noted that it is the best noninvasive procedure for assessing mucosal status, but is not superior to ileocolonoscopy, which remains the gold standard for assessment of ileocolonic disease. Mucosal healing along the small bowel can only be demonstrated by an endoscopic procedure such as capsule endoscopy. Achievement of long-term mucosal healing has been associated with a trend towards a decreased need for hospitalization and a decreased requirement for corticosteroid treatment in patients with Crohn's disease. Recently, we have developed and validated the Capsule Endoscopy Crohn's Disease Activity Index (also known as the Niv score) for Crohn's disease of the small bowel. The next step is to expand our score to the colon, and to determine the role and benefit of a capsule endoscopy activity score in patients suffering from Crohn's ileocolitis and/or colitis. This scoring system will also serve to improve our understanding of the impact of capsule endoscopy, and therefore treatment, on the immediate outcome of this disorder. As the best procedure available for assessing mucosal status, capsule endoscopy will provide important information about the course and outcome of Crohn's disease.


Yaron Niv. Capsule endoscopy in the diagnosis of Crohn's disease. Medical devices (Auckland, N.Z.). 2013;6:85-9

PMID: 23818810

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