If child swallows battery, get treatment immediately
- September 25, 2010 - 7:50 PM
Note to pediatricians: Swallowed batteries damage children's insides alarmingly fast and need to be treated as quickly as possible, according to the authors of a study in the September issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.
Though batteries should not be part of your child's food pyramid, they're increasingly becoming an issue in our high-tech environment. Disc batteries, easily gobbled by a curious toddler, can cause choking. Even worse, the alkaline in the power cells can destroy tissue, and small-voltage electrical shocks can cause internal burns. Researchers found injuries in children treated within three hours of having swallowed alkaline-leaking capsules.
But researchers found a surprising trend among doctors: They described another study showing that more than a third of physicians surveyed weren't concerned about a swallowed battery. That wasn't the worst of it, apparently. "Twenty-two percent would not remove [batteries] even if they were lodged in the esophagus," they wrote.
In their paper, the authors present a protocol to help guide doctors in deciding how to deal with a swallowed battery. Perhaps most important: As soon as the battery is identified using chest radiography, the authors concluded, "emergency esophagoscopy is mandated."
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