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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Mar;27(3):186-8. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31820d6556.

Button battery ingestion: the Greek experience and review of the literature.

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Poison Information Center, Panagiotis and Aglaia Kyriakou Childrens Hospital, Athens, Greece.



Foreign body ingestion is a common cause of admission in the pediatric emergency room. In the past, button batteries accounted for less than 2% of the foreign bodies ingested by small children, but in the last 2 decades, they show a rapidly increased frequency. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential risk after button battery ingestion in relation with the clinical manifestations and to perform a treatment-observation protocol in accordance with the international procedure.


In a prospective observational analysis from November 2007 through February 2008, 31 cases of button battery ingestion were recorded by the Greek Poison Information Center. The interval between the accidental ingestion and first medical contact ranged from 5 minutes to 10 days. After initial evaluation including clinical examination and radiological localization of the foreign body, all cases were treated as outpatients. Reported complications included "black stools" in 9% and diarrhea in 3% of cases. In 1 case, the battery was endoscopically removed.


The role of primary care physicians in informing the public about the potential danger of button battery digestion is crucial. Pediatricians should educate the parents about this hazard, as part of the routine guidelines for childproofing at home. Once again, prolepsis is the best policy.

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