Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 9, pp 2244–2250 | Cite as

Small-Bowel Capsule Endoscopy in Clinical Practice: Has Anything Changed Over 13 Years?

  • Marco Soncini
  • Carlo Maria Girelli
  • Roberto de Franchis
  • Emanuele Rondonotti
  • SBCE Lombardia Study Group
  • On behalf AIGO, SIED and SIGE Lombardia
Original Article



In Lombardia, one of the 20 Italian administrative Regions, small-bowel capsule endoscopy (SBCE) was introduced in 2001. In January 2011, the Regional Health Authorities established a reimbursement for outpatient SBCE.


To prospectively record data on SBCE between 2011–2013 and compare them to similar data retrospectively collected from the same geographical area (covering the period 2001–2008) and published in 2008.


Consecutive SBCEs performed between January 2011 and December 2013 in Lombardia were prospectively collected.


In 3 years, 3142 SBCEs were collected; the diagnostic yield (DY) and the overall complication rate were 48.4 and 0.9%, respectively. The main indication was suspected small-bowel bleeding (76.6% of patients); complete small-bowel inspection was achieved in 2796 (89.0%) patients. SBCE was performed as an outpatient procedure in 1945 patients (61.9%). A significant increase in the rate of patients undergoing SBCE for suspected small-bowel bleeding was observed from 2001–2008 to 2011–2013 (67.3 vs. 76.1%; p < 0.001). There was an increase in the number of complete small-bowel examinations (81.2 vs. 89.0%; p < 0.001) and of outpatient SBCEs (6.7 vs. 61.9%; p < 0.001). Conversely, both the retention rate (2.1 vs. 0.8%; p < 0.001) and the rate of patients undergoing SBCE for Crohn’s disease (11.5 vs. 5.5%; p < 0.001) decreased significantly. The overall DY remained stable (50.6 vs. 48.4%; p = 0.089).


Our study shows that, over 13 years, the SBCE safety profile and completion rate significantly improved over time; a change in the spectrum of clinical indications was also observed.


Small-bowel capsule endoscopy Reimbursement policy Capsule retention Diagnostic yield 



We would like to thank Silvia Paggi for her invaluable help in the editing process.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy UnitAzienda Ospedaliera S. Carlo BorromeoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy UnitHospital of Busto ArsizioBusto ArsizioItaly
  3. 3.University of MilanMilanItaly
  4. 4.Gastroenterology UnitOspedale ValduceComoItaly

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