Volume 1, Issue 2 | January 2014
Image | Endoscopy

Unexpected Capsule Endoscopy Images Reveal Aspiration

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Hisham Hussan, MD, Theodore J. Paradowski, MD, Charlene M. Prather, MD, MPH

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO

ACG Case Rep J 2014;1(2):69. http://dx.doi.org/10.14309/crj.2014.2. Published: January 10, 2014.

Case Report

An 83-year-old male inpatient was evaluated for iron-deficiency anemia after admission for near-syncope. He had prior history of mild occasional oropharyngeal dysphagia. Upper endoscopy and colonoscopy were normal. Video capsule endoscopy (VCE) was pursued.

The gastroenterologist who reviewed the VCE video 30 hours after administration quickly recognized images of the upper bronchi (Figure 1). The capsule remained in the bronchus throughout the entire 8 hours of recording. The patient, alert and in no distress, had reported difficulty swallowing the capsule; he also regurgitated it once before manually pushing it down his hypopharynx.


Figure 1. A) Image of the carina with views down the right and left mainstem bronchi. (B) Image as the capsule travels down the right mainstem bronchus.

The video capsule was successfully removed from the right bronchus intermedius using flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy. The patient tolerated the procedure well and recovered without further complications. He declined further endoscopic work up of his anemia. It was thought to be multifactorial due to chronic kidney disease and underlying myelodysplasia. He responded well to iron therapy and epoetin injections, with no further anemia. Few case reports exist in the literature of aspirated video capsules.1,2 This case serves to increase recognition of this possible adverse event.


Author contributions: H. Hussan wrote and edited the article, and is the article guarantor. TJ Paradowski obtained the images and wrote the article. CM Prather edited and approved the article.

Financial disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Informed consent was obtained for this case report.

Correspondence: Hisham Hussan, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saint Louis University, 3635 Vista Ave. at Grand Blvd., P.O. Box 15250, St. Louis, MO 63110-0250 (hhussan@gmail.com).

Received: November 7, 2013; Accepted: January 2, 2014


  1. Tiphaine G, Journeau S, D’Halluin P, Lena H. Asymptomatic bronchial aspiration of a video capsule. Interact CardioVasc Thorac Surg. 2009;8:568–570. Article | PubMed
  2. Sepehr A, Albers GC, Armstrong WB. Aspiration of a capsule endoscope and description of a unique retrieval technique. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;137(6):965–6. Article | PubMed

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© 2014 Hussan et al. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0.