Aspiration pneumonia and esophagotracheal fistula secondary to button battery ingestion

Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2011 Sep;7(3):283-6. doi: 10.1007/s12024-010-9214-5. Epub 2011 Feb 9.


We report a case of acute bronchopneumonia and esophagotracheal fistula caused by a swallowed button battery in a 3-year-old girl. It was unclear exactly how long the battery had been trapped in the esophagus. The patient had undergone a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy 3 weeks before the battery was finally exposed on an X-ray film. She refused to eat solid food after the surgery and stopped eating completely 10 days later. Three weeks after surgery, she presented to the Emergency Department with vomiting and acute respiratory distress, experienced cardiopulmonary arrest in the intensive care unit and could not be resuscitated. Postmortem examination revealed severe acute bronchopneumonia and massive blood aspiration due to an esophagotracheal fistula secondary to a button battery lodged in the esophagus. This case highlights the importance of including a swallowed button battery in the differential diagnosis of a toddler with dysphagia and anorexia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia / etiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / complications*
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / etiology*
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / etiology*
  • Vomiting / etiology