The child consumes battery, emergency surgery and three weeks on intensive care. The alarm from Gaslini

The little boy immediately underwent delicate surgery and endoscopy to remove a button cell that caused necrosis of the esophageal tissue. Battery intake alarm: 4 children in one month at the Gaslini Emergency Department

Genoa, May 8, 2022 – The 17-month-old boy who arrived at the emergency room at G. Gaslini Hospital on the night of Saturday, May 14, from Savona Province for “vomiting with blood and anemia” is finally out. of danger. 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 immediately underwent an X-ray examination, in which he noticed an immediate danger to life: it was a lithium battery located in the baby’s esophagus, which caused vomiting of blood and progressive anemia due to collective necrosis (the mechanism of damage to the esophagus) and subsequent intestinal ulceration.

“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, anesthesiologists and resuscitation assistants. The child was intubated by Dr. Andrea Dato and Dr. Lara Petrucci then continued with the opening of the chest by the heart surgeon Francesco Santoro and the thoracic surgeon Michele Torre, who secured the large vessels from the damaged esophagus, then the digestive endoscopes 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 over time cut out a niche.After removing the tissue covering it, it was removed endoscopically.Then the respiratory endoscopist, Dr. Annalisa Gallizia, examined the trachea to rule out potential airway damage. After about two hours, the operation was completed, ”explains Raffaele Spiazzi, health director at Gaslin in-hospital.

After surgery, the baby was then transferred to the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit headed by Andrea Moscatelli, where he remained hospitalized for 3 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 UOC Gastroenterology of Gaslini – In recent weeks we have had to face 4 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, another child he was detained for observation when the radiological examination showed ingestion of a battery, and was discharged after 24 hours, after the natural excretion in the feces and relatives controls.The third child is the one to be operated on, as we today dissolve the prognosis a quarter arrived last night ”.

“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 potentially fatal outcomes. Gaslini’s medical-nurse task force was able to respond effectively and in a very short time; Unfortunately, however, these cases continue to occur: Ingestion of the lithium battery still deserves the nickname as a silent killer, ”explains Raffaele Spiazzi, health director at Gaslini Hospital.

“Ingestion of foreign bodies in the young child represents a real danger and a frequent reason to enter the emergency room. There are foreign bodies that are particularly dangerous and harmful to the internal structures of the organism: especially button, alkali or lithium batteries. They 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 be present already after 2 hours after ingestion. Therefore, ingestion of a button cell, especially if it occurs far from the pediatrician’s eyes, can cause intestinal bleeding, chest or back pain, sudden food rejection, vomiting, salivation, cough and respiratory symptoms, ”emphasizes Emanuela Piccotti. , director of the Gaslini Emergency Department.

Parents, watch out for button cells!

Follow these important PRIMARY prevention tips and make sure that the accident does NOT happen:

  • 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.

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