Quickly to the doctor with swallowed magnets

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If objects are accidentally swallowed

Adults are choking on a chunk of meat right now in the barbecue season. Children, on the other hand, put a lot in their mouths and some of them end up accidentally in the stomach. Not only is this uncomfortable, it can also be very dangerous.

Gold ring swallowed to avoid payment
A few months ago, 52-year-old Ronald Perley made the headlines in New Hampshire after swallowing a 14-carat gold ring in a shop to avoid paying. However, he was unmasked on the basis of an x-ray. However, objects are often accidentally swallowed. Felix Gundling of the German Society for Digestive and Metabolic Diseases says: "Especially in the barbecue season, when a lot of meat is eaten, alcohol is drunk and there is a lot of talking, someone often chokes."

Chunks of meat and dentures
Between 2008 and 2010, Gundling, senior physician for gastroenterology at the Bogenhausen Clinic in Munich, counted with his colleagues what and how much they got out of their patients. More than 65 percent of these were chunks of meat. At eight percent each, dentures and tablets were much rarer. "Ingested bits of teeth are rather rare in the emergency room," says Gundling, "either they are too big to be swallowed at all, or they are often so small that they can easily pass through the gastrointestinal tract." Only two of the 38 patients choked on the notorious fish bone, according to the doctors in the "Journal of Gastroenterology."

Children put a lot in their mouths
Children, on the other hand, swallow far more unusual things, especially in the first years of life. Burkhard Rodeck, board member of the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ) and chief physician of the Christian Children's Hospital Osnabrück explains: “Children get to know their surroundings by understanding them in the truest sense of the word. Almost every object is not only picked up in the hand, but also in the mouth. "The expert therefore advises to put away objects that could be swallowed with a simple rule:" Anything that fits through a toilet roll is dangerous. "

Children often swallow coins
The most common items swallowed by children are coins. Such swallowed foreign bodies can lead to chest pain. Smaller coins could often pass through the gastrointestinal tract without problems, but larger pieces could get stuck in one of the three narrowings of the esophagus. "Small coins often get stuck from a size of five cents," warns Rodeck. If this happens, it is advisable to see a doctor quickly because a stuck foreign body can be dangerous. There is, for example, the risk of serious damage to the esophagus wall or even a breakthrough with inflammation of the chest.

Movable plastic tube into the esophagus
Doctors can help with gastroscopy, among other things. A movable plastic tube inserted into the esophagus can be used to check possible injuries on the one hand with a mini-camera and on the other hand to insert pliers or loops to recover the foreign body. In some cases, this method can no longer remove swallowed food. Magnetic toys have become an increasing problem in recent years.

Magnetic toy danger
According to a study by the US American Children's Hospital, such accidents increased fivefold from 2002 to 2011, as the team led by emergency doctor Julie Brown reported in the journal "Annals of Emergency Medicine". It is particularly dangerous if different magnetic particles attract each other in the intestine. In Oregon, United States, 37 spherical magnets were found in the intestine in a three-year-old girl through an X-ray examination. Part of the stomach and intestinal wall were already perforated due to the pressure and only immediate surgery saved the girl's life.

Batteries can cause burns
Young children should therefore be denied unattended access to magnets. The same applies to batteries, because if they are swallowed, they damage the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract particularly badly. "Batteries can discharge themselves electrically from the mucous membranes and thus lead to burns," said Rodeck. With other swallowed objects, such as small coins, you can wait until you get stuck, unless they get stuck in one of the three constrictions of the esophagus. The pediatrician explained that things that pass through the esophagus normally do not cause any further problems when they pass through the intestine, but you should not trust them blindly, but check carefully whether the foreign body is slipping out of the body.

Pen 25 years in the stomach
If you do not have a corresponding control, you could be like a British woman who swallowed a felt-tip pen in 1986. It ended up in the stomach and stayed there for 25 years. Doctors at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Foundation Trust only took the pen out of the patient in 2011. The medical experts were astonished to find in the journal "British Medical Journal Case Reports" that the pen was still in the stomach after a quarter of a century. (ad)

Photo credit: Beßler / Havlena / pixelio.de

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Video: Magnets, Batteries Fuel Swallowing Injuries


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