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Trends of Magnet Ingestion in Children, an Ironic Attraction

Reeves, Patrick, Todd*; Nylund, Cade, M.; Krishnamurthy, Jayasree; Noel, R., Adam; Abbas, Mazen, I.§

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: November 11, 2017 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001830
Original Article: Gastroenterology: PDF Only

Background and Objectives: Ingestion of rare earth magnets is a serious ongoing hazard for pediatric patients. Our study aims to investigate whether 2012 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) policy action, in coordination with efforts from consumer and physician advocacy groups, decreased the incidence of magnet ingestions in children in US since 2012.

Methods: Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) was used to evaluate trends in emergency department (ED) encounters with pediatric patients (<18 years) who presented with suspected magnet ingestions (SMI) from 2010-2015. National estimates of SMI were made using the NEISS-supplied weights and variance variables.

Results: An estimated 14586 children (59% male, 50% age <5 years) presented to the ED for SMI from 2010-2015. A significant upward trend in magnet-related ED visits preceded the CPSC action, with the peak ingestions of 3167 (95% CI, 1612–4723) recorded in 2012. This was followed by a steady decrease in the rate of SMI to 1907 (95% CI, 1062–2752) in 2015, an average annual decrease of 13.3%. Most importantly, post-federal action estimates demonstrated a downward trend in overall SMI ED visits (P = 0.03).

Conclusions: The frequency of magnet ingestions continued to rise from 2010 and then peak in 2012, followed by a decline in magnet ingestion ED visits during the post-federal action years. This down trend emphasizes the importance of advocacy on decreasing magnet ingestions in children. Further study will be required to determine the impact of the court decision to lift the magnet ban in 2016.

*Department of Pediatrics, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, TX

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

Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of San Antonio, TX

§Minnesota Gastroenterology, P.A., Minneapolis, MN.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Patrick Todd Reeves, MD, 3551 Roger Brooke Drive, JBSA Ft Sam Houston, TX 78234 (e-mail:

Received 20 July, 2017

Accepted 16 October, 2017

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: Salary support was provided for Drs. Reeves and Nylund and Ms. Krishnamurthy by the United States Department of Defense. The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Disclaimer: This work was prepared as part of the official duties of Drs. Reeves and Nylund who are employed by the United States Army and Air Force. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Air Force, Department of Defense, or the United States Government. Title 17 U.S.C. 105 provides that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government.” Title 17 U.S.C. 101 defines a United States Government work as a work prepared by a military service member or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties.

Authors contributions: Patrick Reeves conceptualized the study, interpreted the data analysis, drafted the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript.

Cade Nylund contributed to study design, developed the data analysis plan, interpreted the data, and revised the manuscript.

Adam Noel contributed to study design, interpreted the data, and revised the manuscript.

Jayasree Krishnamurthy acquired and organized the data, performed the data analysis, and revised the manuscript.

Mazen Abbas contributed to study design, interpreted the data, and revised the manuscript.

All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

© 2018 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,