Interventional radiology in the management of button battery ingestion injury

Author(s): Emma Rose, Alex Barnacle

Hospital: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children

Reference: RAD Magazine, 45, 528, 11


Button batteries, also known as lithium coin batteries, are found in a surprising number of household objects, from TV remote controls and kitchen weighing scales to watches and 3D TV glasses. The missing batteries may go unnoticed for some time, which adds to the difficulties in picking up the ingestion injury early. Ranging in size up to 23mm diameter and with a shiny appearance, they are particularly appealing to small children who are exploring the world through touch and taste. Once swallowed, the batteries often become lodged in a small child’s oesophagus. Ingestion is often unwitnessed and children of this age are usually unable to report difficulties in swallowing. So there is often a delay in both hospital presentation and the subsequent removal of the battery. Once lodged, the batteries can damage the oesophageal mucosa, causing blistering or even erosion through the oesophageal wall; rarely they cause life-changing or even fatal injuries.

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