Swallowed foreign body

Case contributed by Michael Lousick
Diagnosis certain

Presentation

Patient claims to have swallowed a AA battery 1 hour prior.

Patient Data

Age: 20
Gender: Female
x-ray

A radiopaque foreign body of metallic density consistent with a AA battery is projecting over the stomach. No pneumoperitoneum.

Case Discussion

The patient in this case was a mental health inpatient who disclosed swallowing a AA battery within minutes of the act. She remained clinically asymptomatic and was managed conservatively. A repeat radiograph 12 days later (not shown) demonstrated an absence of the foreign body proving that the battery had passed its course.

The management of swallowed AA batteries differs from button batteries which require much more urgent intervention. An unrelated case study demonstrated successful conservative management of a patient who swallowed 5 AA batteries in one sitting 1.

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