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CJEM. 2009 Sep;11(5):493-5.

Opposites attract: a case of magnet ingestion.

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Emergency Department, British Columbia Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Erratum in

  • CJEM. 2009 Nov;11(6):570.


Foreign-body ingestion is relatively common in the pediatric population and most objects pass through the gastrointestinal tract with minimal complications. Popular toy magnetic construction sets have resulted in numerous reports in the literature of serious complications including death following ingestion of multiple magnets. We report a case of a 5-year-old girl who presented to our emergency department with nonbilious vomiting and mild abdominal pain after accidentally ingesting 2 magnets 10 hours apart. Abdominal radiography showed the presence of 2 magnets, and a laparoscopy revealed multiple areas of bowel wall necrosis and perforation requiring subsequent laparotomy for repair of the bowel wall and retrieval of the magnets. This report aims to alert emergency care physicians of the necessity for early surgical referral with any multiple magnet ingestion to prevent severe complications.

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