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Button battery and magnet ingestions in the pediatric patient

Bolton, Scott M.a; Saker, Marthab; Bass, Lee M.a

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000665

Purpose of review Pediatric foreign body ingestion is a common occurrence that presents a challenge both to pediatric gastroenterologists and primary care providers. Increasing prevalence of smaller, more technologically advanced toys in the household has resulted in an increased exposure to higher voltage batteries and powerful magnets that carry a high incidence of morbidity and mortality. This review highlights the latest findings regarding the patients at risk for button battery and magnet ingestions, the symptoms of presentation, and complications of these objects in contributing to long-standing gastrointestinal injury.

Recent findings Button batteries may lead to esophageal injury within a few hours. Batteries retained in the esophagus are larger in diameter on average and size is associated with esophageal impaction as well as higher grade esophageal injury. Magnet ingestions, when multiple or with another metallic object, are often initially asymptomatic but may have acute worsening, and therefore warrant close monitoring.

Summary Button battery and magnet ingestions have increased in incidence over the past two decades. Recent literature demonstrates that higher voltage, larger lithium button batteries, and prevalence of high-powered magnets can lead to significant morbidity. High suspicion, early referral, and removal may lead to improved outcomes.

aDepartment of Pediatrics

bDepartment of Radiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

Correspondence to Lee M. Bass, MD, Ann and Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, 225 E. Chicago Ave. Box# 65, Chicago, IL 60611, USA. E-mail:

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