Context: Over the last ten years the ingestion of disk batteries and its serious consequences have been increasing. The severity of injury is related to a growing diffusion of the new lithium battery that may cause catastrophic damages when lodged in the esophagus in children.
Case report: A five-year-old boy presented to the Emergency Department of our tertiary pediatric Institute for a lithium battery lodged in the mid esophagus. Emergent esophagoscopy revealed a severe deep, mild bleeding ulceration of the wall in which the battery was partially wedged. The investigation was stopped and on-call cardio-vascular surgeon started left thoracotomy to exclude damages of the main vessels. With the thorax open, the endoscopy was repeated and a directional relationship between the battery and the aorta was excluded by means of trans illumination. The cell, a CR2032 lithium battery, was then removed. Central line parenteral nutrition, i.v. omeprazole plus antibiotics were started with a drainage tube left in the chest. During the follow-up the child undergone several chest X-rays with the suspicion of esophageal perforation. Angio-TC done on day 7 showed air into the thickened esophageal wall and in the mediastinum with severe peri-aortic edema without lesion of the vessel. MRi performed on day 21 showed only a persistent thickening of the esophageal wall. On day 28 an esophagogram was normal and the child was discharged asymptomatic. Two months later the investigation was repeated resulting entirely normal.
Conclusion:Treatment of disk battery ingestion requires a multidisciplinary approach that can be implemented only in a tertiary pediatric hospital. Surgery can play an important role. Severe complications can occur several days after battery removal
Barabino AV, Magnano GM, Gandullia P and Leoni M