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Julian Barton – Double-Balloon Enteroscopy Success Story

Lights, camera, action! Footage of Julian Barton’s small intestine helped doctors pinpoint and solve a severe problem

Julian Barton The advanced skill and technology at
Methodist Charlton helped Julian Barton
get answers — and relief — when he
had a mysterious health issue.

U.S. Air Force retiree Julian Barton spent years working in flight simulation. He is all too familiar with trying to navigate an aircraft through challenging situations.

What he hadn’t anticipated was that a camera navigating through his body would discover the cause of the challenging situations he was facing with his health. The trouble started in August 2012. Barton had unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding and anemia, which required several blood transfusions.

Even a colonoscopy didn’t reveal the source of the bleeding, which at one time ceased for several months and then returned unexpectedly. More blood transfusions and tests followed, including another colonoscopy.

“The doctors were puzzled,” Barton says.

Up close and personal

Barton was referred to Methodist Charlton Medical Center, where gastroenterologist Janardhan Konda, MD, gave Barton an M2A™ capsule to swallow. The “pill” is the size of a large vitamin and contains a miniature video camera. As the camera travels through the digestive tract, it captures color images at a rate of two images per second for eight hours.

“The camera pill footage revealed a bleeding area in Julian’s small intestine, so we felt it was important to move forward with double-balloon enteroscopy,” Dr. Konda says.

Methodist Charlton is one of the few facilities in the Dallas–Fort Worth area that offers the advanced procedure.

Completely incisionless and done on an outpatient basis, double-balloon enteroscopy allows doctors to evaluate an area that was previously beyond the reach of traditional endoscopes — the small intestine. Using a push-and-pull technique that involves alternately inflating and deflating two balloons, doctors are able to view the entire 20 feet of the small intestine in most cases. The enteroscope — a long tube with a light and camera on the tip — is also a tool for performing biopsies, cauterizing bleeding areas, removing polyps, and marking the exact site for later surgery.

Could it be cancer?

Julian Barton and wife

During his search, Dr. Konda discovered a large bleeding tumor in Barton’s small intestine. General surgeon and Methodist Charlton Chief Medical Officer Frank Vittimberga, MD, performed surgery to remove the benign tumor.

Barton is thankful for the diagnosis and successful surgery.

“I’m feeling much better,” he says. The surgery has allowed him to return to playing golf, traveling on cruises, and taking daily walks with his golden retriever, Lucky.

From the spring 2014 edition of Shine magazine.