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Digestive Health

Tampa Community Hospital provides a state-of-the art Endoscopy Center for the diagnosis and treatment of complications of the digestive tract. Specialists in gastroenterology offer care for patients suffering from conditions including:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Celiac Disease (malabsorption)
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Chronic heartburn (gastrointestinal reflux disease)

M2A® Capsule Endoscope

Tampa Community Hospital offers the Endo capsule medical technology that allows physicians to see what no one has ever been able to fully capture before – the entire 21 feet of the human small intestine. The M2A® Capsule Endoscope, or camera in a pill, was pioneered by Given Imaging Corporation to give patients a non-invasive option for diagnosis of certain small intestine disorders.

photo of M2A Capsule Endoscope

Approximately 70 million Americans currently suffer from gastrointestinal troubles, including disorders such as obscure bleeding, Crohn’s Disease, malabsorption or Celiac Disease, and intestinal tumors. However, many of these conditions go undiagnosed, or are treated with trial and error, due to the limited diagnostic options available for this region of the body. Given Imaging's M2A Capsule Endoscope significantly improves the chances of accurate diagnosis for many previously undiagnosed small intestine disorders.

“We are extremely excited to offer a technology that will improve our ability to diagnose disorders of the small intestine,” said Dr. Israel Crespo a Gastroenterologist at Tampa Community Hospital. “In addition, the Given Imaging technology is much more convenient for our patients, who now can avoid the unpleasant preparation, extended visits and anesthesia associated with other diagnostic procedures.”

The capsule, which is taken with a sip of water, just like a vitamin, passes naturally through the digestive tract, recording video images that are transmitted to and then stored on a recorder belt worn throughout the day. Eight hours after swallowing the capsule, the patient returns the belt to the physician's office. The physician then views the images using the Given Imaging workstation and RAPID software, and later reports his or her findings back to the patient. The system received clearance from the FDA in August 2001.

BravoTM pH monitoring System

Do you have a great deal of indigestion or a burning sensation in the center of your chest? Do you regularly get sour or bitter-tasting fluids in your throat or mouth? Do you need help sitting up when you’re lying down, or avoid bending over to prevent acid from backing up into your throat?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you might have chronic heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Now there is a non-invasive test for heartburn – it’s called Bravo. The results from this quick and easy diagnostic test will tell your doctor what is causing your symptoms and what is the best treatment to prescribe for you.

What Is Heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when contents from the stomach flow back up into the esophagus. Heartburn usually begins as a burning feeling in the center of your chest. Often, there is a sensation of food or fluid coming back into your throat and mouth that typically tastes sour or bitter. The burning sensation can last for hours and is often worse after eating. Many people occasionally experience heartburn. But, heartburn can be a symptom of a more serious condition, GERD.

What is GERD?

Frequent or chronic heartburn (more than twice per week) may be associated with a more serious problem known as GERD. The heartburn may be so severe that it interferes with your daily routine. Damage caused by GERD can lead to more serious medical problems such as difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), narrowing of the esophagus (strictures) or Barrett’s esophagus.

How are Heartburn and GERD Diagnosed?

The traditional way to measure pH levels in the esophagus is to place a catheter, which is connect to a monitoring device on the patient’s belt, down the nose and into the esophagus. Many patients complain of nasal discomfort and are embarrassed to go out with the catheter in their nose. Now there is a more patient-friend pH test for diagnosing heartburn and GERD – it’s called BravoTM. This test allows your doctor to evaluate your heartburn symptoms to determine the frequency and amount of acid refluxing into your esophagus.

Bravo is the world’s first catheter-free pH monitoring system that allows patients to maintain their regular diet and activities without the embarrassment and discomfort associated with traditional pH catheter systems.

How the Bravo System Works

The test involves a miniature pH capsule, approximately the size of a gelcap that is attached to your esophagus. Throughout the test period, the Bravo capsule measure the pH in the esophagus and transmits this information to a pager-sized receiver worn on your belt or waistband just like a pager or mobile phone. You will be give a diary to write down the times when you have reflux symptoms (for example, coughing, heartburn, regurgitation), when eating or when lying down.

How the Bravo Capsule is Attached

photo of bravo capsule

After the test is completed, you return the diary and the Bravo Receiver to your doctor and the information is uploaded to a computer, which provides a comprehensive report so the physician can diagnose your condition.

For a referral to a Gastroenterologist please call (855) 245-8330.

Frequently Asked Questions?

What are the benefits of the Bravo System?

The Bravo pH system provides comfort and convenience. Data is recorded when the capsule and receiver are within 3 feet of each other. What this means is you can bathe and get a restful night’s sleep because you can place the receiver outside the shower or on your nightstand and the test will not be interrupted.

photo of bravo capsule size

How long does the Bravo test take?

The capsule takes only moments to place in the esophagus. Then, the Bravo test lasts either 24 or 48 hours, depending on what your physician requests.

Will the Bravo test restrict my diet and activities?

The test is catheter-free and the receiver is small so you may eat normally and go about your daily routine without any restrictions.

What happens when the Bravo test is complete?

After the test period, you return the Bravo receiver to your physician's office. The test data is uploaded to a computer and analyzed by your doctor. Your physician will inform you of your results soon after the test.

What happens to the capsule after the test?

Several days after the test, the capsule naturally falls off the wall of the esophagus and passes through your digestive tract and is eliminated from the body.

Can I have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) during the test?

Patients are restricted from undergoing an MRI study within 30 days of the Bravo procedure.

Will I feel the capsule during the test?

Some patients say they have a vague sensation that “something” is in their esophagus. Some patients say they feel the capsule when they eat or when food passes the capsule. Should you experience this, chewing food carefully and drinking liquids may minimize this sensation.

Is Bravo for everyone?

Unfortunately, it is not for everyone. Patients with pacemakers, implantable defibrillators or neurostimulators cannot use Bravo. Patients with a history of bleeding diatheses, strictures, severe esophagitis, varices and obstructions are not candidates for Bravo.

After the test period, you return the Bravo receiver to your physician’s office. The test data is uploaded to a computer and analyzed by your doctor. Your physician will inform you of your results soon after the test.