Do Button Battery Guidelines Need To Be Revised?

A recent abstract presented at DDW (R Khalaf et al. abstract Sa2046) with 68 patients identified mucosal findings in the stomach and questioned whether the current guidelines are sufficient.  Generally, guidelines call for the immediate removal of button batteries in the esophagus but in asymptomatic children older than 5 years, most gastric batteries can be observed (see links to previous blog posts below which highlight expert recommendations).

Link: Sa2046 GASTRIC INJURY SECONDARY TO BUTTON BATTERY INGESTIONS IN CHILDREN: A RETROSPECTIVE MULTICENTER REVIEW

This study was reviewed in Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News: Retrieving Swallowed Batteries in Children: Don’t Watch and Wait  This link also highlights an abstract from the Emory pediatric GI group, NASPGHAN 2019 (#24), which found that only 5% of esophageal button batteries were removed within two hours.

An excerpt:

According to the National Poison Data System, between 1985 and 2017, roughly 3,500 button batteries were swallowed in the United States each year (www.poison.org/ battery/ stats). ..

The researchers reviewed 68 cases of children who underwent endoscopy after having swallowed button batteries, which are used in a variety of devices, such as cameras and watches. Eighteen of the patients (26%) were asymptomatic, but 41 (60%) had visible mucosal damage…

Some injuries were more severe. A 9-year-old child with a battery lodged in the antrum experienced a gastric perforation that led to pneumoperitoneum, Dr. Khalaf reported. Although only one other injury was as serious, the researchers identified no risk factors that predicted significant complications.

My take: There are a lot of button battery ingestions.  More data is needed to determine whether more button batteries from the stomach should be retrieved.

Related blog posts:

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Gun Carrying Adolescents –Why We Are Going to See More School Shootings

A recent cross-sectional study (RMC Kagawa et al. J Pediatr 2019; 209: 198-203) shows a high rate of gun carrying among adolescents in the U.S.

Key findings:

  • Based on a sample of 10,112 adolescent who completed surveys, 2.4% of adolescents reported carrying a gun in the prior 30 days.
  • Carrying a gun was more common among adolescents with a conduct disorder (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.88), drug use disorders (APR 1.91) and patients with specific phobias (APR 1.54)
  • The authors estimate that 1.1% of adolescents with a disorder associated with self- or other-directed violence also carry guns.  This extrapolates to 272,000 adolescents with both risk factors.
  • Nearly two-thirds of adolescents who report gun carrying had a mental health disorder

My take:

  1. Guns are everywhere.  Gun carrying among adolescents, while only a small percentage of all adolescents, represent a grave risk; especially, since the majority who report carrying guns (in this study) have mental health issues.
  2. Safe storage needs to be a requirement of gun ownership.  Gun access and misuse by adolescents is a ‘clear and present danger’ (apologies to Tom Clancy).

Related blog posts:

El Retiro Park, Madrid