Guelph General Hospital introduces innovative minimally invasive capsule endoscopy procedure

Guelph, ON – March 14, 2023 – In partnership with the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program’s Waterloo Wellington Specialized Endoscopy Program, Guelph General Hospital has introduced capsule endoscopy, a procedure that uses a tiny camera to take pictures of the digestive tract.

“Capsule technology changes the way to see into the small intestine,” says Dr. Dan Kottachchi, Gastroenterologist at Guelph General Hospital. “It helps us to explore unexplained blood loss and other unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms in a hard to reach area, while being a much more comfortable and safer experience for the patient. Sedation is not needed with this procedure with minimal complication risks, and the patient is home during the whole testing process.” 

Unlike traditional endoscopy which involves passing a long, flexible tube equipped with a light and video camera down the throat or other areas of the body, capsule endoscopy uses a high resolution camera inside a pill-size capsule that is swallowed. As the capsule travels through the digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to a recorder. These images are then reviewed for abnormalities.

“As the first trial patient at Guelph General Hospital to have a capsule endoscopy, I can say that the entire process was seamless. I live in Fergus and it was nice to be able to stay close to home for the procedure and have my daughter drive me,” shared Marjorie, the first capsule endoscopy patient at Guelph General Hospital. 

Capsule endoscopy is used to diagnose a number of symptoms and diseases like unexplained bleeding, inflammation in the small intestine (eg. Inflammatory bowel disease, strictures), cancers, and celiac disease. 

“This is about bringing care closer to home. Previously, anyone in Waterloo Wellington needing this procedure had to travel to London, Toronto, or Hamilton to get this important diagnostic procedure,” says Kim Towes, Senior Director of Patient Services. “Patients would often have to wait months for these tests and require blood transfusions or therapy while waiting. Now, we can do this test immediately if needed. Interventions can then be pursued to address the findings faster. Along with Cambridge Memorial Hospital’s new endoscopic ultrasound, these investments have made it more accessible for our patients to receive a better standard of care,” continued Kim.

The Waterloo Wellington Specialized Endoscopy Program currently offers, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (Guelph General Hospital and Grand River Hospital), endoscopic ultrasound, a Liver Health Centre (both at Cambridge Memorial Hospital), and now capsule endoscopy (Guelph General Hospital).

Guelph General Hospital (GGH) is a dynamic, comprehensive acute care facility providing a full range of services to the residents of Guelph and Wellington County. Services include 24-hour emergency coverage, advanced technology and diagnostic support, and specialty programs. GGH is a regional provider of general vascular surgery and a designated provincial Bariatric Centre of Excellence. GGH is also a proud partner in the Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team. Visit us online at ggh.lab.barking.ca or @guelphgeneral.  

The Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program (WWRCP) oversees the delivery and quality of cancer services for the residents of Waterloo Region, Wellington County, and the southern portion of Grey County. It is one of 14 regional cancer programs overseen by Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) to ensure cancer care is delivered according to province-wide quality standards. It strives to improve the patient experience through adopting person-centred care. The program includes services provided at Grand River Hospital’s Regional Cancer Centre, a top rated cancer centre in Ontario, in partnership with several community hospitals and organizations. For more information about the WWRCP visit www.grhosp.on.ca/cancerwaterloowellington.

Photo caption: Marjorie, the first capsule endoscopy patient at Guelph General Hospital. 

For more information, please contact: Carla Kostiak, Manager of Strategic Communications, Guelph General Hospital | Tel: 519 546 3048 | Email: ckostiak@ggh.lab.barking.ca