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May 13, 1983

The Hazard of Ingested Alkaline Disk Batteries in Children

Author Affiliations

From the Children's Medical Center (Dr Votteler); Baylor University Medical Center and W. W. Caruth Surgical Research Center (Dr Nash); and the Departments of Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center and Children's Medical Center (Dr Rutledge), Dallas.

JAMA. 1983;249(18):2504-2506. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330420050034

We have treated eight cases of childhood ingestion of alkaline disk batteries, one resulting in an esophagotracheal fistula. These batteries are capable of rapid tissue destruction on contact with moist membranes. We recommend that packaging include proper warning of this hazard and urge that retained batteries be promptly removed from the esophagus and stomach by endoscopy or laparotomy. If the battery has reached the small intestine, further transit should be monitored carefully by roentgenographic studies until recovery. Perforation is possible after eight-hour retention at a specific site.

(JAMA 1983;249:2504-2506)