Disc Batteries Can Cause Severe Esophageal Damage

Article reviews cases involving ingested batteries in children, offers protocol for managing cases
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Ingestion of disc batteries can cause severe injury among pediatric patients and require emergency endoscopic retrieval, according to research published in the September issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Stanley J. Kimball, D.O., of the Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues discuss the outcomes of 10 pediatric patients -- ranging in age from 9.5 months to 9.5 years -- who ingested disc batteries that required endoscopic retrieval over a 10-year period.

One patient had no injury and two had only superficial mucosal injury. The rest of the patients had more extensive esophageal damage. Two of the more injured patients had esophageal perforation, which in one case resulted in a tracheoesophageal fistula. Two patients had a substantially delayed diagnosis, one at seven days after ingestion and one at 30 days. The authors review the two perforation cases in more detail and provide a recommended protocol for managing esophageal disc batteries.

"In conclusion, severe injury can occur rapidly following disc battery ingestion. A high index of suspicion for a disc battery is necessary to avoid life-threatening sequelae. Emergency endoscopic retrieval is required in these situations," the authors conclude. "A multidisciplinary approach involving otolaryngology and pediatric surgery can be very helpful, especially when a tracheoesophageal fistula and/or uncontained perforation is identified."

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