Boy, 4, hospitalised after swallowing common item

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A four-year-old boy has been rushed to hospital after swallowing a common household item.

The boy was taken to the emergency room after concerns he had swallowed something, according to his case in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Doctors noted the boy was not in any respiratory distress or had any wheezing. He also had clear lung fields.

The boy underwent a chest radiograph and doctors knew they had to remove the item on noticing a “circle-within-a-circle” in the image.

Doctors noted the “circle-within-a-circle” could have been an indication the boy had swallowed button batteries.

About 20 Australian children are rushed to hospitals weekly after ingesting button batteries.

A radiograph shows coins lodged in the chest of a four-year-old boy.
Doctors were quick to rush this boy in for treatment concerned he had swallowed button batteries. Source: Annals of Emergency Medicine

They can be found in children’s toys, watches, remote controls, car keys, scales, thermometers and musical greeting cards just to name a few.

The small, round silver batteries are just the right size to become lodged in the throat of a baby or toddler, and the consequences can be deadly.

The batteries can burn holes in parts of the digestive system. It meant doctors felt they had to operate under the assumption he had swallowed them.

An oesophagoscopy was performed. It is a procedure where doctors examine the oesophagus using an instrument called an endoscope which contains a light and a camera.

To the relief of doctors the boy had not swallowed button batteries.

He had, however, ingested two coins.

“There was no evidence of esophageal stricture or perforation,” researchers wrote.

“Two layered coins can mimic the radiographic appearance of a button battery and are indistinguishable based on radiographic density. In one single-centre study of paediatric coin and button battery ingestion, stacked coins were more than twice as common.”

An emergency laryngoscopy and oesophagoscopy were performed to remove the money.

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