Given Imaging (Yokneam, Israel) said that Aetna, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, has updated its capsule endoscopy policy effective last month and will now cover cirrhotic patients for the screening and surveillance of esophageal varices using capsule endoscopy of the esophagus.

Aetna currently serves 16.6 million medical members, and the addition of its coverage brings the total number of people in the U.S. that have reimbursable access to Given’s PillCam ESO to roughly 30 million.

“We commend Aetna for recognizing PillCam ESO and its role in the evaluation of esophageal varices in cirrhotic patients,” said John Vierling, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine (Houston). “We hope that additional payers will soon recognize the value of this non-invasive procedure to identify patients with varices so that we can use proven prophylatic therapies to reduce the risk of bleeding.”

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