Magnetic Foreign Body Ingestions

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Abstract

Magnets are inherently attractive to young children, but present a risk when ingested. If consumed alone, small, smooth magnetic foreign bodies are likely to pass without significant event; however, ingestion of multiple magnets may have catastrophic consequences, including bowel perforation, obstruction, peritonitis, and death. Increasing reports of morbidity and mortality in recent years from the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System has led to numerous safety statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as several product recalls from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This article presents the background and mechanism of injury of magnet ingestion, as well as recommended management and potential complications. We also review current legislation and opportunities for further patient advocacy regarding this polarizing problem.

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