Battery Ingestion


The Danger Of Batteries

battery ingestion


Battery ingestion is becoming a real danger. As technology increases all of our gadgets are becoming smaller and more powerful. Batteries are no exception. Batteries are small, coin or pill shaped, and may contain very dangerous heavy metals such as silver, mercury, nickel, cadmium, zinc and lithium. But the real danger is in the concentrated caustic electrolytes they contain such as Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium.


Swallowed Batteries

Most swallowed batteries will simply pass on their own accord and cause no real problem.

If you think someone has swallowed a battery it is important to give nothing by mouth and get an x-ray immediately. Until the damage is done there may be no symptoms at all.

Do not make them vomit, if the battery has safely passed into the stomach it may be brought back up into the esophagus.

If possible bring a sample of the battery to the emergency room; disk batteries contain a code which can identify the battery type, manufacturer and contents.


If A Battery Gets Stuck In The Esophagus

(your food pipe running from the mouth to the stomach)

  • It must be removed immediately.
  • Can damage the wall of the esophagus by direct pressure
  • May cause damage by electrical current
  • Caustic chemicals may leak into the esophagus causing full thickness burns


If a battery is swallowed injuries can take as little as one hour and full thickness burns can be present in four hours



The person may show any or all of these symptoms

  • Rash from an allergic reaction
  • Constant drooling
  • irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Gagging
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low-grade fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dark, bloody stools

If any of the above symptoms are present then immediate medical assistance is requiredThe battery must be removed.


Battery Ingestion Treatment

The battery is usually removed with an endoscope that has a claw attachment. (A long flexible tube containing a camera for visual examination of the esophagus and a set of claws to grasp and remove the battery)

battery ingestion endoscope


Keep batteries locked away out of reach of the young one’s and make sure any object that uses batteries has the battery compartment securely closed.