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Battery Ingestion (cont.)

Battery Ingestion Medical Treatment

Immediate removal of the battery may be indicated in the following cases:

  • If X-rays show the battery is located in the esophagus (food pipe)
  • If the person develops symptoms such as abdominal pain or vomiting blood. Minor changes in stool color or minor vomiting are not indications for removal.
  • If the battery is large (15.6 mm or bigger) and the child is younger than 6 years of age and the battery does not pass through the stomach within 48 hours

Battery removal will likely be accomplished with an endoscope. An endoscope is a flexible fiber optic scope with ports for grasping devices to be passed through it. This scope is passed through the mouth and into the esophagus and stomach.

  • Endoscopy allows for battery removal and visual inspection of the esophagus for damage. If an endoscope is not available, removal by other means may be attempted.
  • Transit time for disk batteries through the digestive tract ranges from 12 hours to 14 days. The majority (85.4%) of cells are passed in the stool within 72 hours. At home, strain stools for passage of the battery.
  • Infrequent abdominal X-rays should be taken to confirm forward progression of the battery.
  • If the battery contains mercury and is found to have fragmented (viewed by an X-ray), blood and urine mercury levels are necessary. Medication to lower mercury levels should be used only when abnormal levels are found.
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