Esophageal capsule endoscopy is not the optimal technique to determine the need for primary prophylaxis in patients with cirrhosis

Karen L. Krok, Rebecca Rankin Wagennar, Sergey V. Kantsevoy, Paul J. Thuluvath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: Capsule endoscopy has been suggested as a potential alternative to endoscopy for detection of esophagogastric varices and severe portal hypertensive gastropathy (PHG). The aim of the study was to determine whether PillCam esophageal capsule endoscopy could replace endoscopy for screening purposes. Material and methods: Sixty-two patients with cirrhosis with no previous variceal bleeding had PillCam capsule endoscopy and video endoscopy performed on the same day. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values (PPV, NPV) of capsule endoscopy were compared to endoscopy for the presence and severity of esophageal and gastric varices, PHG and the need for primary prophylaxis. Patients' preference was assessed by a questionnaire. Results: Four (6%) patients were unable to swallow the capsule. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of capsule endoscopy for detecting any esophageal varices (92%, 50%, 92%, 50%), large varices (55%, 91%, 75%, 80%), variceal red signs (58%, 87%, 69%, 80%), PHG (95%, 50%, 95%, 50%), and the need for primary prophylaxis (91%, 57%, 78%, 80%) were not optimal, with only moderate agreement (k) between capsule and upper GI endoscopy. Had only a capsule endoscopy been performed, 12 (21.4%) patients would have received inappropriate treatment. Capsule endoscopy also failed to detect (0/13) gastric varices. The majority of patients ranked capsule endoscopy as more convenient (69%) and their preferred (61%) method. Conclusions: Despite the preference expressed by patients for capsule endoscopy, we believe that upper GI endoscopy should remain the preferred screening method for primary prophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Medical Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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