Does purgative preparation influence the diagnostic yield of small bowel video capsule endoscopy?: A meta-analysis

Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jan;104(1):219-27. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2008.63.


Objectives: Video capsule endoscopy (VCE) is a useful tool in investigating small bowel pathology. However, the role of bowel preparation is controversial. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the role of bowel preparation and in particular its consequences on diagnostic yield in a meta-analysis of all relevant studies.

Methods: Extensive English-language medical literature searches were performed up to February 2008, using suitable keywords, looking for human studies that compared different modes of small bowel preparation (purgative vs. clear liquids diet). We examined the effects of this preparation on the following three primary end points, diagnostic yield (DY), small bowel visualization quality (SBVQ), and VCE completion rate (CR) by meta-analysis of relevant studies.

Results: A total of 12 eligible studies (6 prospective, 6 retrospective) were identified, including 16 sets of data relevant to our primary end points. There were significant differences between patients prepared with purgative vs. those prepared with clear liquids diet in DY (263 vs. 213 patients, respectively; OR (95% CI)=1.813 (1.251-2.628), P=0.002) and SBVQ (404 vs. 249 patients, respectively; OR (95% CI)=2.113 (1.252-3.566), P=0.005). There was no statistically significant difference regarding CR rate. Purgatives did not affect VCE gastric transit time (GTT) or VCE small bowel transit time (SBTT).

Conclusions: Pooled data showed that in comparison to clear liquids diet, purgative bowel cleansing, before VCE, improves the SBVQ and increases the DY of the examination, but does not affect the VCE completion rate.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Capsule Endoscopy*
  • Cathartics / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*


  • Cathartics