Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital are conducting the initial clinical trials of a new 'Smart Pill', about the size of a multivitamin, to diagnose their patients' stomach problems without subjecting them to invasive and time-consuming procedures.
Often diagnosis of chronic stomach condition, known as gastroparesis, takes months of testing, and involves invasive procedures.
But the novel capsule, which contains sensors and a radio transponder, has made the process quick and easy. It passes through the stomach, intestines and bowel and transmits critical diagnostic information—pH, temperature and the amount of pressure in the stomach and intestines—to a receiver attached to a belt worn by the patient.
A few days later, the doctors gather information about the condition of the patient's stomach from the receiver, which helps them prescribe the best treatment plan.
"Some of these patients can't really leave their house because of their problems. Often, these patients are losing weight because of limited nutritional intake," says Dr. Richard McCallum, Professor of Gastroenterology.
"This new technology will allow us to give these patients the treatment they need much sooner and with a non-invasive safe & well tolerated test with standardized results for better patient outcomes," he adds.
The researchers warn that the capsule should not be confused with the pill cams, which take pictures of the GI tract, but do not measure pH or pressure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already given its approval to the Smart Pill, and the researchers believe that they will soon revolutionise the way doctors diagnose the condition of a patient's stomach.