Capsule impaction presenting as acute small bowel perforation: a case series
Dipartimento di Chirurgia Generale, Geriatrica ed Endoscopia Diagnostica ed Operativa, Centro di Eccellenza per l’Innovazione Tecnologica in Chirurgia, Università di Napoli Federico II, Medicina e Chirurgia, Naples, Italy
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:121 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-121Published: 3 May 2012
Perforation caused by capsule endoscopy impaction is extremely rare and, at present, only five cases of perforation from capsule endoscopy impaction are reported in the literature.
We report here two cases of patients with undiagnosed small bowel stenosis presenting with acute perforation after capsule endoscopy. Strictures in the small bowel were likely the inciting mechanism leading to acute small bowel obstruction and subsequent distension and perforation above the capsule in the area of maximal serosal tension.
Case 1 was a 55-year-old Italian woman who underwent capsule endoscopy because of recurrent postprandial cramping pain and iron deficiency anemia, in the setting of negative imaging studies including an abdominal ultrasound, upper endoscopy, colonoscopy and small bowel follow-through radiograph. She developed a symptomatic bowel obstruction approximately 36 hours after ingestion of the capsule. Emergent surgery was performed to remove the capsule, which was impacted at a stenosis due to a previously undiagnosed ileal adenocarcinoma, leading to perforation.
Case 2 was a 60-year-old Italian man with recurrent episodes of abdominal pain and diarrhea who underwent capsule endoscopy after conventional modalities, including comprehensive blood and stool studies, computed tomography, an abdominal ultrasound, upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, barium enema and small bowel follow-through, were not diagnostic. Our patient developed abdominal distension, acute periumbilical pain, fever and leukocytosis 20 hours after capsule ingestion. Emergent surgery was performed to remove the capsule, which was impacted at a previously undiagnosed ileal Crohn’s stricture, leading to perforation.
The present report shows that, although the risk of acute complication is very low, the patient should be informed of the risks involved in capsule endoscopy, including the need for emergency surgical exploration.