Mitigation Efforts for Button Batteries

EM Sinclair et al. JPGN 2022; 74: 236-243. This retrospective study (n=63) describes the increased utilization of cross-sectional imaging, adoption of acetic acid irrigations, increased intensive care/hospitalizations after the implementation of consensus institutional guidelines for button battery management (see visual abstract below). An estimate in the increase in costs would have been a good addition to this study.

One of the references (EM Sinclair et al. J Pediatr Surg Case Rep 2021; 66: 101782. doi: 10.1016/j.epsc.2021.101782. Open Access: Development and repair of aorto-esophageal fistula following esophageal button battery impaction: A case report) describes one of the goals of prolonged hospitalization, namely preventing catastrophic bleeding. In this case report, though, the 6 yo had been discharged 12 days after presentation and represented on day 25 with hematemesis from a new aorto-esophageal fistula, requiring emergent cardiac catheterization with successful, life-saving aortic stent placement; “however a multidisciplinary approach to procedure planning is necessary with availability of surgical support for open repair if necessary.” This report has a lot of good images. The discussion notes that the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC) database reports a total 64 deaths in children following button battery ingestion worldwide since 1977; 61% (39/64) of which were due to documented arterio-esophageal fistulae (the actual numbers of deaths is likely much higher). This report also highlights the fact that serial MRIs “may not predict the development of severe complications.”

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