Button batteries are small coin shaped devices that can result in burning of internal tissue by means of an electrochemical reaction when a battery becomes stuck within the body. Damage can occur within hours and batteries have been known to erode into major blood vessels leading to major bleeding and death and severe disability.
This BPSU study will investigate cases of accidental button battery ingestion or inhalation in children. The true incidence of button battery ingestion in children in the UK is not known and this study will go part way to help with this. This study would look to collect information around cases where a child has swallowed or inhaled a battery and has subsequently required removal. With the information we collect we hope to better understand current practices across the UK for these children and hence better inform clinicians how to standardise best practice. We also hope to support ongoing public awareness campaigns with regards to the dangers of button batteries. Without robust incidence data it can be difficult to justify legislation.
Presently there is no accurate data on the incidence or outcome following of accidental button battery ingestion in the UK, although anecdotal experience suggests this is a serious problem.
Through this study we aim to find out the number of children who accidentally swallow or inhale a button battery and require medical intervention to have it removed. We hope though the course of this research we can help healthcare professionals better manage children who present with button batteries that become stuck and also help towards ongoing public information campaigns as well as aid towards improved legislations around the containment of these products.
Dr Suvradeep Basu
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust