Colon capsule endoscopy: an innovative method for detecting colorectal pathology during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Colorectal Dis. 2020 May 13. doi: 10.1111/codi.15134
The coronavirus pandemic has led to significant challenges for healthcare delivery across the globe. Non-emergency endoscopic activity in the UK has been postponed, raising concerns of increased delays in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer and a surge in demand once services resume. Measures to mitigate this risk must be considered.
This paper reviews various investigative modalities for colorectal disease which could be deployed during cessation of colonoscopy services. We focus on colon capsule endoscopy (CCE) due to its relevance during the COVID-19 pandemic and its ability to triage patients effectively to further endoscopic investigations.
CT of the abdomen and pelvis has been suggested as a triage tool while access to colonoscopy is limited. However, CT may lead to the spread of COVID-19 as patients attend the hospital, and it exposes them to the risks of radiation. Faecal immunochemistry tests have been demonstrated as a good predictor of colonic pathology and could be safely used to risk stratify patients when prioritising colonoscopy. CCE is a safe and innovative technology for investigating the colon. Procedures can be carried out in the community and can be conducted safely during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been shown to be an accurate detector of colonic neoplasia and can reduce demand for colonoscopy.
As colonoscopy services resume, they will likely experience high demand leading to further delays for patients. CCE could be used to reduce the number of patients requiring colonoscopy and triage those requiring further endoscopic investigations appropriately.