Chronic jejuno-colonic fistula and intestinal malabsorption due to multiple magnet ingestions: A case report and systematic review

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2024 May;30(5):361-369. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2024.50845.


Magnet ingestion in children can lead to serious complications, both acutely and chronically. This case report discusses the treatment approach for a case involving multiple magnet ingestions, which resulted in a jejuno-colonic fistula, segmental intestinal volvulus, hepa-tosteatosis, and renal calculus detected at a late stage. Additionally, we conducted a literature review to explore the characteristics of intestinal fistulas caused by magnet ingestion. A six-year-old girl was admitted to the Pediatric Gastroenterology Department pre-senting with intermittent abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea persisting for two years. Initial differential diagnoses included celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and tuberculosis, yet the etiology remained elusive. The Pediatric Surgery team was consulted after a jejuno-colonic fistula was suspected based on magnetic resonance imaging findings. The physical examination revealed no signs of acute abdomen but showed mild abdominal distension. Subsequent upper gastrointestinal series and contrast enema graphy confirmed a jejuno-colonic fistula and segmental volvulus. The family later reported that the child had swallowed a magnet two years prior, and medical follow-up had stopped after the spontaneous expulsion of the magnets within one to two weeks. Surgical intervention was necessary to correct the volvulus and repair the large jejuno-colonic fistula. To identify relevant studies, we conducted a detailed literature search on magnet ingestion and gastrointestinal fistulas according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. We identified 44 articles encompassing 55 cases where symptoms did not manifest in the acute phase and acute abdomen was not observed. In 29 cases, the time of magnet ingestion was unknown. Among the 26 cases with a known ingestion time, the average duration until fistula detection was 22.8 days (range: 1-90 days). Fistula repairs were performed via laparotomy in 47 cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Colonic Diseases / etiology
  • Colonic Diseases / surgery
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / complications
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging
  • Foreign Bodies / surgery
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Fistula* / etiology
  • Intestinal Fistula* / surgery
  • Intestinal Volvulus / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Volvulus / etiology
  • Intestinal Volvulus / surgery
  • Jejunal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Jejunal Diseases / etiology
  • Jejunal Diseases / surgery
  • Magnets / adverse effects
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / etiology