Background and study aims: It is still difficult to visualize changes in the small intestine. Wireless capsule enteroscopy is a new method that promises to provide new insights into the small intestine. In a prospective study, the diagnostic yield of wireless enteroscopy was therefore compared with computed tomography (CT) enteroclysis.
Patients and methods: Twenty-two patients with suspected small-bowel pathology underwent CT enteroclysis and wireless capsule enteroscopy examinations, conducted by two independent blinded investigators. The results of the two investigations (diagnoses and the number, extent, and location of lesions detected) were compared by a third investigator.
Results: The patients included in the study had obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (n = 8), Crohn's disease (n = 8), unexplained diarrhea (n = 5), or suspected carcinoid tumor (n = 1). Pathological lesions were detected using capsule enteroscopy in 13 patients (59 %) and using CT enteroclysis in eight (36 %; P = 0.12). In seven patients (one case each of colonic Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, Meckel's diverticulum, carcinoid tumor, mesothelioma, colonic polyps, and irritable bowel syndrome), no pathological changes were found in the small intestine using either method. The diagnosis was established by wireless capsule enteroscopy in four patients with obscure bleeding, whereas CT enteroclysis was positive in only one patient ( P = 0.1). Crohn's disease was found in two patients with unexplained diarrhea. Small-bowel lesions were identified in six patients with known Crohn's disease using capsule enteroscopy or CT enteroclysis. The only side effect of wireless capsule enteroscopy observed was abdominal pain in one patient with Crohn's disease. There were no serious side effects with CT enteroclysis.
Conclusions: Wireless capsule enteroscopy detects more small-bowel lesions than CT enteroclysis in patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding and Crohn's disease.