This month’s Gastroenterology has an interesting picture of magnet(s) ingestion (Gastroenterology 2012; 142: 701, 1044). This case report describes an ingestion by a 3-year-old boy who had swallowed 5 ball-shaped magnets. The authors considered this an emergency even though it appeared that all 5 balls were in the stomach. As it turns out, a gastric mucosa fold was trapped in between the balls. By taking the child for emergency removal, the authors averted a gastric perforation.
When multiple magnets are ingested, they may attract each other and cause pressure and subsequent damage. Magnet ingestion has become an important ingestion with case reports that have even included a death secondary to sepsis as well as perforations, fistulas, and volvulus. Due to the potential for severe harm, they should be retrieved when possible ASAP.
- -Steven Liu et al. JPGN 2005; 41: 670-672. Magnetic foreign body ingestions leading to duodenocolonic fistula.
- http://www.naspghan.org/user-assets/Documents/pdf/Annual%20Meeting%202011/Speaker%20presentations/PG%20Syllabus%20-%20all%20-%20slides%20only.pdf. (pg 35) describes above case report by Liu et al as the “best NASPGHAN clinical vignette ever”
- -Oestreich AE. worldwide survey of damage from swallowing multiple metal magnets. Pediatr Radiol 2009; 39: 142-47. 128 instances of magnet ingestion from 21 countries.
- -Eisen GM et al. Gastrointest Endosc 2002; 55: 802-806. Guideline for mgt of ingested foreign bodies.
- -MMWR 2006; 55: 1296-1300. GI injuries from magnet in ingestion in U.S.