Objectives: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is the standard method for the diagnosis of esophago-gastric varices. The aim of this prospective multicenter study was to evaluate the PillCam esophageal capsule endoscopy (ECE) for this indication.
Methods: Patients presenting with cirrhotic or noncirrhotic portal hypertension underwent ECEfollowed by EGD at the time of diagnosis. Capsule recordings were blindly read by two endoscopists.
Results: A total of 120 patients (72 males, mean age: 58 years; mean Child-Pugh score: 7.2) were included. Esophageal varices were detected in 74 patients. No adverse event was observed after either EGD or ECE. Seven (6%) patients were unable to swallow the capsule. The mean recording time was 204 s (range 1-876). Sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value, and positive predictive value of ECE for the detection of esophageal varices were 77%, 86%, 69%, and 90%, respectively. Sensitivity, specificity, negative and positive predictive values of ECE for the indication of primary prophylaxis (esophageal varices > or = grade 2 and/or red signs) were 77, 88, 90, and 75%, respectively, and 85% of the patients were adequately classified for the indication (or not) of prophylaxis. Interobserver concordance for ECE readings was 79.4% for the diagnosis of varices, 66.4% for the grading of varices, and 89.7% for the indication of prophylaxis.
Conclusions: This large multicenter study confirms the safety and acceptable accuracy of ECE for the evaluation of esophageal varices. ECE might be proposed as an alternative to EGD for the screening of portal hypertension, especially in patients unable or unwilling to undergo EGD.