'Camera in a pill' endoscopy gains increasing acceptance

Novel devices such as capsule endoscopes have enabled the gastrointestinal device market to grow to $14.6 billion in 2011, according to a recent study, The World Market for Gastrointestinal Devices, published by healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information.

Novel devices such as capsule endoscopes have enabled the gastrointestinal device market to grow to $14.6 billion in 2011, according to a recent study, The World Market for Gastrointestinal Devices, published by healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information. Capsule endoscopy has been one of the fastest areas of revenue growth for manufacturers, charting 12.9 percent growth annually since 2007.

Capsule endoscopy systems, which resemble a pill, incorporate a miniaturized video camera to deliver video images of the inside of the gastrointestinal tract once ingested by a patient. Even with the system's limitations, including a lack of manual control by physicians and use in patients with narrow gastrointestinal tracts or suspected obstructions, its benefits are considerable as a noninvasive approach to diagnosing conditions in the small bowel and detecting small pathologies. It is also low-cost, administered on an outpatient basis, and can provide wireless imaging transfer.

The major companies supplying these systems include Given Imaging (Duluth, GA) and Olympus (Center Valley, PA). The main source of revenue for Given Imaging is the PillCam Capsule, which consists of a miniature video camera inside an ingestible, disposable capsule. The communication outside the body is accomplished by wireless technology and the company's software. The company originally launched the small bowel (SB) capsule endoscopy platform system in 2001, and is continuing to roll out its second-generation PillCams. In September 2007, Olympus announced the launch of the Endo Capsule for visualizing small bowel mucosa. It is part of the EnteroPro brand of products designed to be a total solution for physicians. The product offers automatic lighting using six LEDs, two images per second transmission, and recording a time of approximately eight hours.

The advancing technology of capsule endoscopy systems, the increasing number of procedures using the technology, and growing education about the systems will contribute to high growth during the forecast period discussed in Kalorama's report.

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