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J Pediatr Surg. 2013 Feb;48(2):441-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2012.11.040.

Tracheoesophageal fistula following button battery ingestion: successful non-operative management.

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Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Children's of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA.


The incidence of devastating complications from button battery ingestions is increasing. Battery impactions may result in erosive esophagitis, tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF), esophageal strictures, spondylodiscitis, vocal cord paralysis due to paralysis of recurrent laryngeal nerve(s), and aortoesophageal fistulas with significant morbidity and mortality. We present a case of a 15 month old boy who developed an acquired TEF secondary to ingestion of a 20mm button battery lodged at the level of the carina. The clinical course and imaging findings are reviewed. Serial limited CT imaging with 3-D reconstruction was helpful in noninvasive assessment of healing and clinical decision making. Of special interest are the negative initial esophagram and the healing of the fistula without the need for surgical intervention.

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