Toby Litovitz, MD,
In the past few years there has been a significant increase in pediatric button battery ingestions resulting in serious complications. From 1985 to 2009, there was a 6.7-fold increase in the percentage of ingestions with severe outcomes, including 13 deaths. In addition, many devastating injuries have been reported such as exsanguination from esophageal perforation into the aorta, destruction of the wall of the esophagus and trachea, vocal cord paralysis and esophageal narrowing.
Children swallowing batteries lodged in the esophagus have required feeding or breathing tubes for months or years and multiple surgical repairs. Two new studies suggest that batteries must be removed from the esophagus within 2 hours to prevent these serious injuries. These studies further demonstrate that the increase in the severity of button battery ingestions by children is directly related to the widespread use of 20-mm-diameter lithium batteries as a power source for common household products.
Dr. Toby Litovitz, MD, Executive & Medical Director National Capital Poison Center, comes on the show to discuss how parents must be vigilant to prevent these battery ingestions.
Dr. Litovitz, a medical toxicologist and emergency physician, founded the National Capital Poison Center in 1980 and has served as its Executive and Medical Director since that time. She also served as Executive Director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers from 1994 to February 2004 and coordinated the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System, the nation’s only poisoning surveillance database, from 1984 through 2005. She is a tenured Professor of Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University (faculty since 1979) and a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University (since 1994). She has authored more than a hundred publications in clinical toxicology, with a focus on hazard detection and surveillance.
Melanie Cole, M.S.
Prom Safety! PSA
Get our FREE Health Newsletter!