Button battery esophageal impaction

Case contributed by David Chang
Diagnosis certain


Presents with his mother with irritability, coughing, and rhinorrhea.

Patient Data

Age: 1 year
Gender: Male

A foreign body is seen at the level of the cricopharyngeus.  A halo sign or double ring sign can be seen which eludes towards the foreign body being a button battery. In addition, there are irregularities along the borders of the battery, suggestive of corrosion. On the lateral view the foreign body can be seen impacted in the esophagus with the trachea seen anteriorly.  

Case Discussion

This case demonstrates a classic finding of impaction of a button battery in the cervical esophagus.  Differentiation between a button battery and other foreign bodies is of the utmost importance.  Ingestion and impaction of a button battery can cause respiratory distress through obstruction and a caustic burn.  If the battery is impacted as seen in this case, significant morbidity and/or mortality can occur within 8 hours after ingestion.  

Button batteries if passed through the stomach pose minimal risk for impaction or burns and can be observed until passed in the stool.

How to use cases

You can use Radiopaedia cases in a variety of ways to help you learn and teach.

Creating your own cases is easy.