KGH is successfully using a new diagnostic technique which involves a person swallowing a tiny pill which contains a video camera.
The hospital starting using the capsule endoscopy technique in September 2008 and since then has used the treatment 80 times.
The technique has proven to be a great success and it helps clinicians to see and photograph parts of the bowel which cannot be reached using a traditional endoscopy examination.
It sounds like the kind of science fiction reminiscent of the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage - where scientists are shrunk to a minute size and injected into a human body to repair a blood clot in a man who is dying.
In reality this amazing piece of miniaturisation enables KGH doctors to make accurate diagnoses of problems like unexplained blood loss, Crohn’s disease and cancer.
Consultant Gastroenterologist, Dr Andrew Dixon, said: “The small bowel is one of the last great unknowns in gastroenterology.
“This miniature technology is opening up these frontiers and enhancing our understanding of the small intestine and the diseases that affect it.
“We use the photographs and footage taken by the capsule to determine things like whether a part of bowel is inflamed or whether it has a growth in it of any kind.
“This helps us to be more effective and targeted in our treatments which can range from using medication to surgery.”
Facts about a capsule endoscopy
The capsule itself is the size of a large pill (11.4mm by 26.3mm) long and contains one camera chip, 3 lenses (one of them extra wide angle), an LED light, a battery, and a radio transmitter.
As the capsule travels through the oesophagus, stomach, and small intestine, it takes over 50,000 pictures at approximately 2 frames per second.
The photographs are transmitted by the capsule transmitter to a small data recorder that is worn on the waist of the patient who is undergoing the capsule endoscopy.
At the end of the procedure, approximately 8 hours later, the photographs are downloaded from the receiver on to a computer, and the images are reviewed by a specialist clinician.
The capsule is passed by the patient into the toilet and flushed away.
Because KGH is unusual in performing the procedure it has also taken referrals from other hospitals.
Six months ago the Trust also arranged for special training for one of its nurse endoscopists to enable more of the procedures to be done in the future.