Retention of the capsule endoscope: a single-center experience of 1000 capsule endoscopy procedures

Feng Li, Suryakanth R. Gurudu, Giovanni De Petris, Virender K. Sharma, Arthur D. Shiff, Russell I. Heigh, David E. Fleischer, Janice Post, Paula Erickson, Jonathan A. Leighton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Background: Retention of the video capsule is the most significant complication associated with capsule endoscopy (CE). There are limited data on incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of capsule retention. Objective: We aimed to determine the incidence of capsule retention and to investigate the causes and clinical outcomes of capsule retention. Setting: Single tertiary referral medical center. Patients: All patients who underwent CE for suspected small bowel disease from June 2002 to March 2006. Methods: Retrospective case series. Results: Capsule retention occurred in 1.4% of our patients (14/1000). Eleven patients failed to pass the capsule because of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) enteropathy (diaphragm disease). One patient had capsule retention from an obstructing carcinoid tumor. Metastatic ovarian cancer with invasion of the ileum was the cause of retention in another patient. One patient who did not have surgical removal of the capsule because of loss of follow-up had retention caused by a small-bowel tumor suspicious for carcinoid tumor on CT enterography. All patients remained "asymptomatic" from the retained capsules. Thirteen patients underwent elective partial small-bowel resection and capsule removal. No deaths were associated with these surgeries. Eleven patients recovered promptly, whereas 2 patients had mild postoperative ileus. Limitation: Retrospective study. Conclusion: Retention of the capsule endoscope appears to be infrequent. The most common cause is diaphragm disease resulting from NSAIDs in this study population. In most cases, capsule retention is asymptomatic, and it usually leads to surgical removal, which appears safe and also identifies and treats the underlying small-bowel condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-180
Number of pages7
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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