Battery intake alarm among children, in the last month, four cases have already been found in the Emergency Department at Gaslini Hospital. Finally out of danger of life a 17-month-old child who had arrived on the night of Saturday 14 May from the province of Savona for ‘vomiting with blood and anemia’. The parents told the doctors that he had not been healthy for a week, did not want to eat and had a low temperature. The emergency room surgeon, Dr. Vittorio Guerriero had immediately subjected him to an X-ray examination and noticed an immediate danger to life: it was a lithium battery placed in the child’s esophagus, which had caused vomiting of blood and progressive anemia due to collective necrosis (the mechanism of damage to the esophagus) and consequent ulceration. intestines.
Raffaele Spiazzi, director of health at Gaslini Hospital, explains: “On the night of May 14, the task force was immediately activated, which includes: radiologist, thoracic surgeon, cardiac surgeon, digestive endoscopist, respiratory endoscopist, instrumentalists, perfusionists, anesthetists and resuscitation physicians. minutes from the start, an intubation was performed by Dr. Andrea Dato and Dr. Lara Petrucci, then the chest was opened by the heart surgeon Francesco Santoro and the thoracic surgeon Michele Torre, who secured the large vessels from the damaged esophagus, then the digestive endoscopists intervened – Dr. Paolo Gandullia and Dr. Serena Arrigo – who had difficulty locating the pile because the tissue was necrotic, flaky and bleeding; the pile had also dug over time, a niche, after removal of the tissue covering it, was removed endoscopically. the respiratory endoscopist, Dr. Annalisa Gallizia, the trachea to rule out potential damage to the airway own. The operation was completed after about two hours. “
Subsequently, the little one was transferred to the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit headed by Andrea Moscatelli, where he remained hospitalized for three weeks with a reserved prognosis. The risk, explains the doctors who had to treat other cases in this way, was that the esophagus was perforated: in fact, the corrosive damage of the pile continues for several days despite the pile being removed.
“Also last night a 2-year-old child arrived who turned out to have swallowed a dish battery, fortunately it was found in the stomach and not in the esophagus, the child will be admitted for observation until the natural expulsion of the battery – says Paolo Gandullia, Director of Gastroenterology at Gaslini – In recent weeks we have had to face four cases: we arrived at the Emergency Department at the Gaslini Institute with the suspicion of ingesting a button cell: one fortunately turned out to be a false alarm became another child detained for observation when the radiological examination showed ingestion of a battery, and was discharged after 24 hours, after the natural excretion in the faeces and relatives controls.The third child is the one who is exposed to surgery, for which we today loosen the prognosis for “A quarter arrived last night.”
Raffaele Spiazzi, Medical Director of Gaslini Hospital, adds: “With our specialists, also in the light of a common interdisciplinary protocol, we have decided once again to draw parents’ attention to the prevention of this type of serious accident, with The Gaslini Medical- nurse task force has been able to respond effectively and in a very short time, but unfortunately these cases continue to occur: the intake of the lithium battery still deserves the nickname silent killer “.
Emanuela Piccotti, Director of the Gaslini Emergency Department, emphasizes the risk to children: “Ingestion of foreign bodies in a young child represents a real danger and a frequent cause of access to the Emergency Department. There are foreign bodies that are particularly dangerous and harmful to the body’s internal structures: These are metal discs the size of a button or a small coin found in toys, as well as in a variety of everyday tools such as clocks, alarm clocks, hearing aids, remote controls, etc. Their damaging effect occurs due to the short circuit between the positive and negative pole, especially in the digestive segments in close contact with the mucous membranes and especially in the esophagus, where ulcerative lesions can potentially already be present 2 hours after ingestion.Therefore ingestion of a button cell, especially if it takes place away from the eyes of those who joins hearing children, may cause intestinal bleeding, chest or back pain, sudden refusal to eat, vomiting, salivation, cough and respiratory symptoms ”.
Gaslini’s advice for parents
- Do not allow small children to play or touch objects that contain batteries.
- Be careful if preschoolers play with such objects.
- Make sure that toys or objects for adults have an airtight space.
- Do not “store” these batteries as it is difficult to store them all in safe places for children.
- When replacing ‘dead’ batteries, dispose of them in the appropriate containers without leaving them unattended.
- If you yourself suspect that your child has ingested a button cell, go to the emergency room immediately or, if you can not, call 112/118.