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World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct 14;18(38):5324-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i38.5324.

Magnets, children and the bowel: a dangerous attraction?

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Department of Physiology, St Mark's Hospital, London HA1 3UJ, United Kingdom.


Reports of magnet ingestion are increasing rapidly globally. However, multiple magnet ingestion, the subsequent potential complications and the importance of the early identification and proper management remain both under-recognized and underestimated. Published literature on such cases could possibly represent only the tip of an iceberg with press reports, web blogs and government documents highlighting further occurrence of many more such incidents. The increasing number of complications worldwide being reported secondary to magnet ingestion point not only to an acute lack of awareness about this condition among the medical profession but also among parents and carers who will be in most cases the first to pick up on magnet ingestion. There still seems to be no consensus on the management of magnet ingestion with several algorithms being proposed for management. Prevention of this condition remains a much better option than cure. Proper education and improved awareness among parents and carers and frontline medical staff is key in addressing this rapidly emerging problem. The goal of managing such cases of suspected magnet ingestion should be aimed at reducing delays between ingestion time, diagnosis time and intervention time.


Bowel injury; Children; Fistulation; Multiple magnet ingestion; Necrosis

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