Wireless capsule video endoscopy is a superior diagnostic tool in comparison to barium follow-through and computerized tomography in patients with suspected Crohn's disease

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2003 Apr;15(4):363-7. doi: 10.1097/00042737-200304000-00005.


Background: The recently introduced wireless M2A capsule video endoscopy (CVE) has been demonstrated to be superior to barium follow-through and enteroscopy in diagnosing patients with occult blood loss and iron-deficiency anaemia.

Objective: To further investigate CVE in comparison to barium follow-through and entero-computerized tomography (CT) in establishing the diagnosis of patients with suspected Crohn's disease.

Design and setting: The study was conducted in one academic hospital. Twenty patients with recurrent abdominal pain and/or weight loss or chronic diarrhoea underwent barium follow-through as their initial examination, followed by CVE (if there was no stricture) and entero-CT. The radiologist that performed the barium follow-through and entero-CT was blinded to the results of the CVE. A blinded reader who was unaware of the study objective diagnosed the results of the CVE. In most cases in which there was a discrepancy between examinations, colonoscopy and ileoscopy were performed. For each patient, the diagnosis and disease extent were recorded.

Results: Twenty patients (13 males, 7 females; mean age 31 years, range 20-57) were included in the study. Ninety-five per cent of the patients had abdominal pain, 75% had diarrhoea, and 65% had weight loss. The mean haemoglobin level of the group was 13.1 g% (range 10-15.5). Only 13 patients underwent entero-CT.CVE confirmed the diagnosis of Crohn's disease that was suspected by alternative methods in six of the 20 patients. CVE made the diagnosis of Crohn's disease in six patients that had normal barium follow-through or entero-CT. CVE ruled out a diagnosis of Crohn's disease suspected by other modalities in three patients. CVE extended the involvement of Crohn's disease in three of the patients, and established new diagnoses in two patients.

Summary: CVE established new diagnoses, confirmed existing diagnoses, enlarged the extent of the disease, and ruled out the suspicion of Crohn's disease in 70% of the patients. Barium follow-through established diagnoses, measured the extent of the disease, and ruled out the suspicion of Crohn's disease in 37% of the patients. The capsule detected all of the lesions diagnosed by barium follow-through and entero-CT. CVE detected additional lesions that were not detected by other modalities in 47% of cases and ruled out lesions that were detected by other modalities in 16% of cases (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: CVE is a superior and more sensitive procedure than barium follow-through and entero-CT in establishing the diagnosis and estimating the extent of Crohn's disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Barium Sulfate*
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Crohn Disease / pathology
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Barium Sulfate