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Swallowing multiple magnets poses danger to children

. Oestreich wrote the letter to Radiology after a 12-year-old autistic boy was admitted to CCHMC with abdominal pain. Abdominal x-rays revealed multiple objects with metallic density throughout the small intestine and possibly the large intestine. The next day, surgeons removed a large number of small magnets that had been part of a toy. The magnets caused several areas of small bowel necrosis and local perforation.

While swallowing magnets is not nearly as common as swallowing coins, jewelry or toy parts, there have been a number of reported cases of multiple magnet ingestion over the past five years, including nine incidents in the United Kingdom involving children who swallowed industrial-strength magnets worn to resemble body piercings.

"Parents and physicians should be on the alert," Dr. Oestreich said. "Moreover, if the possibility of magnets in the abdomen exists, magnetic resonance imaging is to be strictly avoided."


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Contact: Maureen Morley
mmorley@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
26-Oct-2004


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