Gastroscopy and video capsule endoscopy 

A video capsule endoscopy is a test carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to look at the small intestine for any abnormalities. This is to confirm or rule out a condition or diagnosis. A capsule containing a tiny camera and light is inserted into the digestive system using an endoscope during a gastroscopy procedure.

An endoscope (a flexible tube with a camera on the end) is passed into the mouth to look at the lining of the stomach and intestine. The capsule is then passed into the duodenum using the endoscope. As it travels through the digestive system, it transmits pictures of the intestine wall to a recorder carried in a bag.

What will happen?

At home

  • „„Follow the liquid diet from 12pm the day before your child comes to GOSH.
  • „„Your child should not eat or drink anything from 10pm the night before the test. This makes sure that there is a clear view of the bowel wall.
  • „„Some children need to be in hospital to prepare for the test.
  • „„Please bring in any medicines that your child is taking. 

At hospital

  • „„A doctor will check that your child is well enough to have the test.
  • „„If not done already, the doctor will explain the test and ask you to sign a consent form.
  • „„A nurse will put a cannula (thin plastic tube) in a vein.
  • „„Your child will be taken to the Gastroenterology Investigation Suite for the test.
  • „„Your child will be given an anaesthetic (medicine to make them sleep).
  • „„You will be asked to leave the room once they are asleep.
  • „„Once the doctor has carried out the gastroscopy, they will pass the capsule into the duodenum.
  • „„The nurse will put eight electrodes on your child’s tummy or abdomen and connect them to the recorder carried in a bag.
  • „„Your child will wake up gradually from the anaesthetic.
  • „„The camera will take pictures for around eight hours.
  • „„Your child should continue with normal activities and should be encouraged to walk. Please bring some activities for your child’s entertainment while in hospital.
  • „„A special diet is advised during the recording process.
  • „„The nurse will check the position of the capsule and remove the recorder when appropriate.
  • „„You will be able to go home once the nurse has removed the recorder.
  • „„The pictures will be transferred onto a computer and reviewed by the doctor.

Back home afterwards

  • „„After a few days, the capsule should be passed out in your child’s faeces (poo). The capsule is disposable so you do not need to return it to us. You can flush it down the toilet with your child’s poo.
  • „„We will discuss the results with you in clinic. „„We will post you a clinic appointment for a few months’ time. 

Are there any risks?

The chance of any problems occurring is minimal but it is important that you are aware of them.

  • There is a risk that the capsule could get stuck in the intestine if there is an obstruction or narrowing.
  • Your child should not have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan unless you have seen the capsule in your child’s poo.
  • After the gastroscopy, your child may
    • Have a sore throat.
    • Have damage to the bowel wall.
    • Vomit small spots of blood up to 72 hours after the test – this is normal as biopsies have been taken.
    • Have abdominal pain due to excess wind up to 48 hours after the test.
    • Have an infection, especially if your child has a central venous catheter.
    • Feel dizzy or sick up to 24 hours after the test due to the anaesthetic. 

Please contact Gastroenterology Investigation Unit or your family doctor (GP) if these symptoms carry on for longer than expected or your child 

  • Vomits large amount of bright red blood or clots.
  • Has severe abdominal pain and a swollen tummy.
  • Becomes generally unwell.
  • Refuses to eat or drink.
  • Is unusually sleepy or difficult to wake up.
  • Has a high temperature.
  • Feels unwell or is sick.
  • Has tummy ache. 
Compiled by: 
The Gastroenterology Investigation Suite in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group.
Last review date: 
March 2014


Please note this is a generic GOSH information sheet. If you have specific questions about how this relates to your child, please ask your doctor. Please note this information may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals.