Swallowable electronic pills that monitor the state of the gastrointestinal system may change how diseases of the GI tract are diagnosed, monitored, and studied. So far the FDA has approved only the SmartPill from Given Imaging (Yoqneam, Israel) now part of Medtronic, and only for monitoring how the GI system passes the device from one end to the other. While diagnosing gastroparesis, the inability of the stomach to clear itself, is all well and good, electronic pills must have more potential for doing more elaborate measurements.
A the University of Chicago, clinical researchers have been testing whether the SmartPill can be used to reliably measure the pH in different sections of the gut and how that data, combined with measurements of the transit time through the intestines, can benefit medical care.
The investigators had ten healthy volunteers swallow a SmartPill on two consecutive days, and recorded readings at four different points while the pill was in different spots in the gut. The subjects ate a special bar supplied by Given Imaging that helps the SmartPill move along and then proceeded to fast until it exited the system.
From the conclusion in the study abstract in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology:
This study demonstrates the safety and feasibility of tandem gut transit and pH assessments using the SmartPill device. In healthy individuals and over 24 h, the gut pH profile does not markedly fluctuate in a given region with more variation seen in the colon compared with the small bowel, which has important implications for future physiology and drug delivery studies.
Study in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology: Assessment of Tandem Measurements of pH and Total Gut Transit Time in Healthy Volunteers…
Source: University of Chicago Medicine…