Esophageal burns secondary to disc battery ingestion

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1984 Jul-Aug;93(4 Pt 1):364-9. doi: 10.1177/000348948409300416.


Accidental ingestion and impaction of disc batteries in the esophagus has been a constant predictor of severe morbidity presumably due to leakage of highly caustic potassium or sodium hydroxide contained in these electric cells. Fewer than ten reports of esophageal burns from disc battery ingestion have appeared in the medical literature; an additional case involving ingestion of a mercury disc battery was recently encountered at the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University School of Medicine. Two children died as a direct result of the impaction and resultant esophageal burn; six children experienced perforation of the esophagus, with four children developing tracheoesophageal fistulae. We report the ingestion of a 1.35-V mercury camera disc battery by a 10-month-old girl in whom a severe burn of the anterior midesophagus was noted 18 to 22 hours after impaction. The child subsequently developed a tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal stricture at the site of the burn and required tracheotomy, closure of the fistula, partial esophagectomy and gastrostomy for eventual successful management. Stimulated by this experience, we have conducted an in vivo study of the time course and severity of esophageal burns resulting from alkaline and mercury battery ingestion in 15 cats. Mucosal damage can be seen as early as one hour after ingestion, rapidly progressing to involvement of all muscular layers by four hours. Removal of this foreign body should be assigned highest priority to prevent rapid development of these burns and the long-term sequelae mentioned above.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Burns, Chemical / diagnostic imaging
  • Burns, Chemical / etiology*
  • Cats
  • Electric Power Supplies
  • Esophagus*
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / complications*
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Radiography