Purpose of review: As the demand for small electronics continues to grow so does the risk of oesophageal ingestion of button batteries. These small but powerful sources of energy are ubiquitous in every household and when swallowed, especially in small children, have been shown to create significant injury in a short amount of time leading to long-term morbidity and possible death. This review highlights the latest findings regarding epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of ingested button batteries.
Recent findings: Updated epidemiology from the National Capital Poison Center, new bench research looking at injury patterns and possible mitigation strategies, updated ideas on management algorithms including the use of a trauma protocol, close-look second endoscopy and management of button batteries in the lower gastrointestinal tract are reviewed in this paper.
Summary: Despite advances in the understanding of injury mechanics and innovations leading to early diagnosis and improved management of button battery ingestion, parental and provider education remain the most important tools to keep children well tolerated from the sequelae of these potentially fatal events. Collaboration between healthcare experts, public health and industry is essential to find a safe answer to this ongoing threat.