Case report: Spondylodiscitis After Button Battery Ingestion

Chris Fritzen and Erica Riedesel passed along a case report: a 16 mo presented to our hospital system with coughing, gagging and hematemesis after an unwitnessed FB ingestion; she was emergently taken to the OR where a button battery was noted to be densely adherent to the posterior wall of the upper thoracic esophagus and removed with a flexible endoscope. Postoperatively, she received 7 days of ampicillin/sulbactam. 14 days after presentation, an MRI revealed esophageal injury was evident at T3 level as well as an abnormal signal was seen within the esophagus spanning C7-T4. In addition, there was edema and enhancement of the intervertebral disc space at T1-T2 and T2-T3 consistent with spondylodiscitis. Prior reports (see below) have emphasized the need for antimicrobial coverage for Staphylococcus and upper respiratory pathogens. Children with spondylodiscitis may present with refusal to walk or limping, back or leg pain, and local stiffness of the neck/spine.

My take: Spondylodiscitis is another rare complication following button battery ingestion.


  • NEO Grey et al. Pediatr Radiol 2021; 51:1856–1866. In this report, 1 of 23 children had spondylodiscitis. Other complications: esophageal perforation (n=11), tracheoesophageal fistula (n=3)
  • V Kieu et al. J Pediatr 2014; 164: 1500-1501. Highlights increased risk from unwitnessed button battery ingestions.
  • H Eshaghi et al. Pediatr Emer Care 2013;29: 368Y370. Spondylodiscitis: A Rare Complication of Button Battery Ingestion in a 10-Month-Old Boy

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