JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Esophageal button battery ingestions: decreasing time to operative intervention by level I trauma activation.

PURPOSE: The incidence of button battery ingestions is increasing and injury due to esophageal impaction begins within minutes of exposure. We changed our management algorithm for suspected button battery ingestions with intent to reduce time to evaluation and operative removal.

METHODS: A retrospective study was performed to identify and evaluate time to treatment and outcome for all esophageal button battery ingestions presenting to a major children's hospital emergency room from February 1, 2010 through February 1, 2012. During the first year, standard emergency room triage (ST) was used. During the second year, the triage protocol was changed and Trauma I triage (TT) was used.

RESULTS: 24 children had suspected button battery ingestions with 11 having esophageal impaction. One esophageal impaction was due to 2 stacked coins. Time from arrival in emergency room to battery removal was 183minutes in ST group (n=4) and 33minutes in TT group (n=7) (p=0.04). One patient in ST developed a tracheoesophageal fistula. There were no complications in the TT group.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of Trauma 1 activations for suspected button battery ingestions has led to more expedient evaluation and shortened time to removal of impacted esophageal batteries.

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