MONDAY, May 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Ingestion of a button battery (BB) can cause mucosal damage in pediatric patients, even without symptoms, according to a study presented at the 2019 Digestive Disease Week, held from May 18 to 21 in San Diego.

Racha T. Khalaf, M.D., from the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of the medical records at four pediatric tertiary care centers to identify cases of gastric BB and report endoscopic findings.

The researchers found that 22 patients underwent endoscopic retrieval of gastric BB, and 11 of them were symptomatic at the time of presentation. Time from ingestion to endoscopic removal was a mean of 22.31 hours for the 21 patients for whom this information was known. The mean time to first radiographic evaluation was 3.65 hours; repeat imaging was performed at a mean of 16.75 hours in 20 patients. In two patients, three radiographs were performed, and one patient had five radiographs to reevaluate the BB location. Eighty-six percent of cases reported visual evidence of mucosal damage at endoscopic removal. In forty percent of cases, injuries were documented in the antral region of the stomach. One patient had a gastric perforation with pneumoperitoneum, a severe complication of a retained battery lodged in the antrum (estimated time of retention, 117 hours).

“Batteries in the stomach cause damage, including perforation of the gastric wall, so physicians should consider removing the batteries as soon as possible and not let them pass through the digestive tract,” Khalaf said in a statement.

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