Posts Tagged ‘ intestinal blockage ’

Number of Kids Who Swallowed Magnets Quintupled Between 2002 and 2011

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The number of children who went to the emergency room or were treated elsewhere because they had swallowed magnets–a highly dangerous situation that can lead to emergency surgery–quintupled between the years 2002 and 2011, according to a new study published online in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.  More from ScienceDaily.com:

“It is common for children to put things in their mouth and nose, but the risk of intestinal damage increases dramatically when multiple magnets are swallowed,” said lead study author Jonathan Silverman, MD, of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. “The ingestion of multiple magnets can severely damage intestinal walls to the point that some kids need surgery. The magnets in question were typically those found in kitchen gadgets or desk toys marketed to adults but irresistible to children.”

Over a 10-year period, 22,581 magnetic foreign body injuries were reported among children. Between 2002 and 2003, incidence of injury was 0.57 cases per 100,000 children; between 2010 and 2011, that jumped to 3.06 cases per year out of 100,000 children. The majority of the cases occurred in 2007 or later.

In cases where children ingested multiple magnets, 15.7 percent were admitted to the hospital (versus 2.3 percent of single magnet ingestions). Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of magnets were swallowed; twenty-one percent were ingested through the nose. Nearly one-quarter (23.4 percent) of the case reports described the magnets as “tiny,” or other variants on the word “small.”

Image: Magnets, via Shutterstock

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Magnetic Surgical Technique Saves Baby

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

CNN.com is reporting on the inspiring story of a newborn baby whose life-threatening intestinal obstruction was corrected not through major, invasive surgery, but through an innovative technique using magnets:

A thin, hard membrane was blocking a section of [newborn, 4-pound] Patrick’s intestines — the result of a rare birth defect called rectal atresia that occurs in one out of every 5,000 babies.

“We need to remove it,” the doctor told the couple.

[Dr. Eric] Scaife described to Patrick’s worried parents a long, technically difficult surgery. Patrick would be cut open through his abdomen and vertically along his tailbone. Once inside, Scaife would remove the membrane and then piece together two sections of intestines.

He had his concerns. It was a big operation on a little baby. The surgery might cause scarring, or it might injure nerves in Patrick’s pelvis that could lead to incontinence.

If Patrick was Scaife’s son, what would he do? Divricean asked the surgeon.

Scaife told her he’d think on it and give them an answer the next week.

“Hopefully, they’ll come up with something that will save Patrick or will give us a better option at least,” Divricean thought as she waited for the week to pass.

A week later, Scaife had an idea.

Instead of removing Patrick’s blockage, he wanted to break through it — with two powerful magnets.

In the hands of children, strong magnets have proven dangerous, even deadly. When swallowed, they’ve passed into the intestines, and their attraction to each other has forged a hole in tissues.

It occurred to Scaife that in the skilled hands of a surgeon, magnets might be a useful tool instead of a hazard. If he placed a magnet on either side of Patrick’s blockage, their attraction might make a hole and destroy the membrane, allowing stool to pass.

Scaife’s idea was untested and unproven — but if it worked, Patrick wouldn’t need surgery.

Read on for the whole story.

Image: Surgeon, via Shutterstock

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