Background and Objective: In the last 10 years, there have been an increasing number of case reports concerning gastrointestinal injury related to magnet ingestions; however, the magnitude of the problem remains to be clearly defined. The aim of the study was to examine the epidemiology of magnet ingestion-related emergency department (ED) visits among children in the United States.
Methods: We performed a trend analysis using a nationally representative sample from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database for ED visits involving magnet ingestion in children younger than 18 years from 2002 to 2011.
Results: A national estimate of 16,386 (95% CI 12,175–20,598) children younger than 18 years presented to EDs in the United States during the 10-year study period with possible magnet ingestion. The incidence of visits increased 8.5-fold (from 0.45/100,000 to 3.75/100,000) from 2002 to 2011 with a 75% average annual increase per year. The majority of patients reported to have ingested magnets were younger than 5 years (54.7%). From 2009 to 2011 there was an increase in older children ingesting multiple small and/or round magnets, with a mean average age of 7.1 ± 0.56 years during the study period.
Conclusions: There has been an alarming increase in ED visits for magnet ingestion in children. Increased public education and prevention efforts are needed.