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20 mm lithium button battery causing an oesophageal perforation in a toddler: lessons in diagnosis and treatment
  1. Giampiero Soccorso1,
  2. Ole Grossman1,
  3. Massimo Martinelli2,
  4. Sean S Marven1,
  5. Kirtik Patel3,
  6. Mike Thomson4,
  7. Julian P Roberts1
  1. 1Paediatric Surgery Unit, Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, University of Naples Federico II, Napoli, Italy
  3. 3Adult Upper GI Surgery, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK
  4. 4Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Giampiero Soccorso, Paediatric Surgery Unit, Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Western Bank, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S10 2TH, UK; giampsoccorso{at}


Swallowed button batteries (BB) which remain lodged in the oesophagus are at risk of serious complications, particularly in young children. The authors report a 3-year-old child, who rapidly developed an oesophageal perforation, following the ingestion of a 20-mm lithium BB which was initially mistaken for a coin. A thoracotomy and T-tube management of the perforation led to a positive outcome. BBs (20 mm) in children should be removed quickly and close observation is required as the damage initiated by the battery can lead to a significant injury within a few hours.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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