Severe injuries from coin cell battery ingestions: 2 case reports

J Pediatr Surg. 2009 Mar;44(3):644-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2008.10.110.


Although coin cell battery ingestion is usually not associated with adverse consequences, case reports have been published that describe serious morbidity and occasional mortality. This report describes 2 young children developing serious complications from unwitnessed Lithium coin cell ingestion. A 19-month-old developed an aortoesophageal fistula from the proximal descending aorta, whereas the other developed bilateral vocal cord paralysis. Massive bleeding from the aortoesophageal fistula occurred 10 days post battery removal, resulting in a fatal outcome despite maximal surgical efforts. The patient with bilateral vocal cord paralysis required tracheostomy for airway stridor but is recovering function. This report adds to the evidence that primary prevention efforts are needed to caution parents about the dangers associated with coin cell batteries, and secondary prevention can be improved by raising awareness among clinicians as to the various clinical presentations and therapeutic options for this condition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Diseases / complications
  • Aortic Diseases / etiology*
  • Esophageal Fistula / complications
  • Esophageal Fistula / etiology*
  • Esophagus*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / complications*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Male
  • Primary Prevention
  • Stomach*
  • Vascular Fistula / complications
  • Vascular Fistula / etiology*
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology*
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / surgery