Safety of capsule endoscopy in patients with pacemakers

Jonathan A. Leighton, Virender K. Sharma, Komandoor Srivathsan, Russell I. Heigh, Tony L. McWane, Janice K. Post, Sara R. Robinson, Jane L. Bazzell, David E. Fleischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Background: Capsule endoscopy, a new technology, allows visualization of the entire small intestinal mucosa. The main indication for capsule endoscopy at present is the evaluation of GI bleeding of obscure origin. Studies to date suggest that capsule endoscopy is safe and is associated with few adverse events. One concern, which has not been studied, is the potential effect of the capsule on cardiac pacemakers and other electromedical devices. The primary aims of this study were to evaluate the safety of capsule endoscopy in patients with cardiac pacemakers who are being evaluated for GI bleeding of obscure origin and to determine whether pacemakers have any effect on the images captured by the capsule endoscope. Methods: Patients with cardiac pacemakers referred for evaluation of GI bleeding of obscure origin were entered into the study. Before the procedure, an electrocardiogram was obtained, and pacemaker functions were checked. Capsule endoscopy was performed in a hospital setting to allow closer monitoring, instead of the outpatient clinic, which is our routine. Cardiac rhythm was assessed simultaneously during capsule endoscopy with a Holter monitor. Post-procedure pacemaker function was again checked for any disturbance. When the capsule endoscopy studies were reviewed, observations were made with particular reference to technical difficulty or interference with imaging. Observations: Five consecutive patients (4 men, 1 woman; mean age, 73 years, range 56-92 years) with cardiac pacemakers were studied. In all patients, the indication for capsule endoscopy was GI bleeding of obscure origin. A cardiologist and pacemaker nurse specialist reviewed the Holter monitor recordings and evaluated pacemaker function after the procedure for each patient. No arrhythmia or other adverse cardiac event was noted during capsule transmission. No pacemaker-induced interference on the capsule endoscopy images was observed. Conclusions: Capsule endoscopy appears to be safe in patients with cardiac pacemakers and does not appear to be associated with any significant adverse cardiac event. Pacemakers do not interfere with capsule imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-569
Number of pages3
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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