The child swallows the battery without danger, but Gaslini warns: “Too many similar episodes”

Child consumes battery: today the prognosis is resolved after a delicate acute intervention and three weeks on intensive care. 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.

Out of danger

The 17-month-old baby who arrived at the emergency department at G. Gaslini Hospital on the night of Saturday 14 May from the province of Savona for “vomiting with blood and anemia” is finally out of life danger. The parents told doctors he was not feeling well, he did not want to eat and had a low fever. 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 baby’s esophagus, which had determined vomiting of blood and progressive colliquative necrosis anemia (damage mechanism in the esophagus) and subsequent ulceration of the intestine.

“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 that covered it, it was removed endoscopically.Then a respiratory endoscopist, Dr. Annalisa Gallizia, examined the trachea to rule out potential airway damage. was completed after about two hours “,

explains Raffaele Spiazzihealth director of the Gaslini 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 for UOC Gastroenterology of Gaslini- In recent weeks we have had to face 4 cases: arrived at the Emergency Department at the Gaslini Institute with suspicion of ingestion of a button cell: one fortunately turned out to be a false alarm, another child 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, for which 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 silent killer “,

explains Raffaele Spiazzihealth director of the 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 takes place far from the eyes of the nursing staff, can cause intestinal bleeding, chest or back pain, sudden refusal to eat, vomiting, salivation, cough and respiratory symptoms “,

points out Emanuela PiccottiDirector of the Gaslini Emergency Department.

Parents, watch out for button cells! The rules

Here are the indications of Gaslini. 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 preschool children play with such objects.

• Make sure that toys or objects for adults have a tightly closed 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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