Foreign body in the gastrointestinal tract of a child

The type, consistency, and form of a swallowed foreign body determine the intensity of attempts to locate and remove it. A foreign body stuck in the oesophagus may cause severe symptoms and may even be life-threatening. A foreign body that has passed through the oesophagus into the stomach usually exits spontaneously without causing symptoms. Most button batteries contain an alkaline electrolyte that may damage the mucous membranes when dissolved. The electrolyte is released into the gastrointestinal tract if the battery casing is broken. The breakage of the casing is accelerated if there is much charge left in the battery. Therefore, it is advisable to follow up a patient who has swallowed a button battery even if he/she is symptomless. Endoscopy should be considered if the battery is not spontaneously excreted within 48 hours. Foreign body in the respiratory passages: see ; foreign body in the nose: see .