Background: Small bowel capsule endoscopy (SBCE) is an important diagnostic tool for small-bowel diseases but its quality may be hampered by intraluminal gas. This study evaluated the added value of the anti-foaming agent, simethicone, to a bowel preparation with polyethylene glycol (PEG) on the quality of small bowel visualisation and its use in the Netherlands.
Methods: This was a retrospective, single-blind, cohort study. Patients in the PEG group only received PEG prior to SBCE. Patients in the PEG-S group ingested additional simethicone. Two investigators assessed the quality of small-bowel visualisation using a four-point scale for ‘intraluminal gas’ and ‘faecal contamination’. By means of a survey, the use of anti-foaming agents was assessed in a random sample of 16 Dutch hospitals performing SBCE.
Results: The quality of small bowel visualisation in the PEG group (n = 33) was significantly more limited by intraluminal gas when compared with the PEG-S group (n = 31): proximal segment 83.3% in PEG group vs. 18.5% in PEG-S group (p < 0.01), distal segment 66.7% vs. 18.5% respectively (p < 0.01). No difference was observed in the amount of faecal contamination (proximal segment 80.0% PEG vs. 59.3% PEG-S, p = 0.2; distal segment 90.0% PEG vs. 85.2% PEG-S, p = 0.7), mean small bowel transit times (4.0 PEG vs. 3.9 hours PEG-S, p = 0.7) and diagnostic yield (43.3% PEG vs. 22.2% PEG-S, p = 0.16). Frequency of anti-foaming agent use in the Netherlands was low (3/16, 18.8%).
Conclusion: Simethicone is of added value to a PEG bowel preparation in improving the quality of visualisation of the small bowel by reducing intraluminal gas. At present, the use of anti-foaming agents in SBCE preparation is not standard practice in the Netherlands.