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Capsule camera trial

05 July 2021

Some of the Colon Capsule Endoscopy team with patient Patricia Nichols, in one of our clinical rooms, which is clean and white, Patricia sits on an examination couch with the team behind her. 

The James Paget is among hospitals around the country who are trialling new capsule cameras which patients will be able to swallow, rather than have a traditional colonoscopy.

With traditional colonoscopy patients need to attend hospital where a tube containing a camera is inserted into their body. The miniature camera capsules, which are no bigger than a pill, will allow patients with urgent colonic symptoms to be checked for cancer in a non-invasive way, allowing them to go back home, away from the hospital, while the test is in progress.

The imaging technology, known as a Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE), is the latest innovation to help patients’ access cancer checks. The patient swallows the capsule which has two miniature wireless cameras inside that take two high quality pictures every second of the lining of the bowel to detect any sign of disease. The images are beamed to a recorder that the patient wears and, once the images are downloaded and reviewed, a report is generated.

While initially only a relatively small number of people will be suitable for the trial, it is hoped that this may lead to camera capsules being used more widely across the NHS as, for some symptoms, it is an alternative to conventional colonoscopy.

Dr Rawya Badreldin, Consultant Gastroenterolgist and Endoscopy Clinical Lead at the James Paget,said; “We are very excited to be trialling this innovative technology to test and develop its use in the NHS. Cancer diagnosis and treatment is a priority as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and CCE will help support the restoration and expansion of endoscopy services during this time.

“At the James Paget, the implementation of this service is a collaboration between Colorectal surgery and the Endoscopy Unit supported by the Research department, and it’s thanks to the dedication and focus of the team, made up of doctors, specialist nurses, nurse endoscopists, senior nurses, managers, administrators and our project manager, supported by our local Clinical Commissioning Group and the national team, that has made this happen.”

Some of our Endoscopy Team who are involved in the trial - five members of staff including nurses and a doctor stand facing the camera, three women, including the doctor, stand at the front, with two men behind them, all are wearing surgical masks.

Dr Kamal Aryal, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Colon Capsule Evaluation Project for the James Paget, said; “As an alternative to an invasive test such as colonoscopy, the patient does not need to self-isolate before the procedure, does not need Covid testing and can continue with usual medications, such as blood thinning tablets, while preparing for the test.  

“We are one of the 42 trusts in England taking part in the colon capsule endoscopy evaluation project, and were the first location to start the service in Norfolk and Waveney, with our first patients being fitted with the recording device and swallowing the capsule on Wednesday, 30 June.

“I would like to thank the surgical department, our endoscopy team, Central Treatment Suite staff, Ward 9 sisters, our colorectal nurses, Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, and the national team for the pilot, as without their help this would not have been possible. This innovative technique will help us to move forward in providing latest diagnostic services for our patients in our community.”  

An image of the Pillcam, which is mostly clear and long oval shaped, like a tablet..

Mr Roshan Lal, Clinical Lead for Surgery and James Paget Cancer Lead, said; “With the hard work of Mr Aryal, Project Manager Katrina Strak, Endoscopy Lead Dr Badreldin and the whole colorectal cancer team, we were able to not only start but are first in Norfolk and Waveney to offer this non-invasive service to our local population with suspected bowel cancer symptoms. This is an excellent achievement due to the teamwork of everyone involved with this project.  

“The addition of this service will provide an alternative test, reduce the waiting times for urgent bowel cancer referrals, and will go a long way in improving the service we provide to our local community.”

Among the first patients to join the trial were Patricia Nichols from Caister-on-Sea, pictured with some of the team involved in the project, and Lisa Hobbs from Lowestoft, pictured with Kamal Aryal following the fitting of the recording device.

The pilot is in partnership with the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System and our sister hospitals, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, and will run for 12 months from June 2021. 

Colon Capsule patient Lisa Hobbs sits on a bed, with Dr Kamal Aryal standing behind her. Both wear masks.