A new Mayo Clinic study suggests that video capsule endoscopy (CE), a procedure that uses wireless technology in diagnosing intestinal disease, is safe for patients with heart devices. Wireless electrical gadgets, such as cell phones, have been shown to interfere with implanted heart devices, including pacemakers and defibrillators. This risk has led medical experts to speculate that capsule endoscopy could similarly cause heart devices to fail.But these results might be rendered moot since Medicare has already rendered their opinion on whether they will pay for virtual pill colonoscopies:
As a result, the noninvasive procedure has been contraindicated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with cardiac devices. Contraindication means an increased risk may be involved.
Generally, the topic has remained in the subject of speculation, although several small studies have found no interference with cardiac devices, and no clinical reports have surfaced linking CE to problems with them.
The study concludes that performing a video capsule endoscopy on patients who have cardiac devices appears safe, and, conversely, the cardiac implants don't impair capsule endoscopies.
Dr. (Barry) Straube's group touched off an uproar earlier this year with a decision that Medicare wouldn't pay for so-called virtual colonoscopies, which use medical imaging -- instead of inserting a tube into the colon -- to look for signs of abnormal growths. It cited insufficient scientific evidence that the procedure would benefit "average-risk Medicare beneficiaries."* Sigh *
Supporters, including oncologists and medical-imaging companies such as General Electric Co. and Siemens AG, say the less-invasive procedure saves lives. But some physician groups say the technique isn't cost effective -- a point Dr. Straube's group used in its decision-making, though it stated that "cost and cost effectiveness didn't greatly influence this decision."