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J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2009 Apr;19(2):241-3. doi: 10.1089/lap.2008.0206.

Coin ingestion in children: which size is more risky?

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey.



Because of economic inflation, different-sized coins are in circulation in our country. The coin ingestion and retention in the esophagus are common problems in childhood. We evaluated the patients with coins retained in the esophagus and the impact of the size of the coins on lodgment.


Sixty-two children with a history of coin ingestion and a chest X-ray with retained coin in the esophagus were evaluated. Patients' age, sex, type of the ingested coin, and localization of coin were recorded. The size of all coins was measured. All coins were removed either directly with a Magill forceps or with the aid of an esophagoscope from the esophagus under general anaesthesia.


There were 27 male and 35 female patients with coin lodgment (median age, 4 years; range, 1-13). Forty-five patients (73%) ingested a coin with a diameter between 23.45 and 26.00 mm. In the remaining 17 patients (27%), the coins had a diameter between 17.00 and 20.90 mm or between 26.85 and 28.00 mm. Fifty coins were at the upper esophagus, eight coins were in the middle esophagus, and 4 patients had a coin in the distal esophagus. There was a positive correlation between the diameter of coin and age of the patient (r = 0.415 and P < 0.001).


Coin ingestion is rather common among childhood and its treatment may require an endoscopic approach. Most retained coins had a diameter between 23.45 and 26.00 mm. We think we could redesign our coins so that they would either be too big to ingest or so small they would always pass spontaneously.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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