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Magnet Ingestions in Children Presenting to US Emergency Departments, 2002–2011

Abbas, Mazen I.*; Oliva-Hemker, Maria; Choi, Joon; Lustik, Michael§; Gilger, Mark A.||; Noel, R. Adam; Schwarz, Kathleen; Nylund, Cade M.#

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: July 2013 - Volume 57 - Issue 1 - p 18–22
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182952ee5
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

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.

*Department of Pediatrics, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI

Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Department of Pediatrics, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD

§Department of Clinical Investigation, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI

||Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA

#Department of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Mazen I. Abbas, DO, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Tripler Army Medical Center, 1 Jarrett White Road, Honolulu HI 96859 (e-mail:

Received 15 January, 2013

Accepted 29 March, 2013

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US Army, the US Air Force, the US Navy, the Department of Defense, or the US government.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,