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Medical treatment for children who have swallowed metal objects - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 13-Jan-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Child Health
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1773 Questions
User :   16 month old Baby may have swallowed a metal barrette 1.5 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. I turned my back on her for a moment and now I cant find the barrette anywhere. I can only assume that she ate it. She seems fine, but I'm not sure what I should do now. What do you recommend?
Doctor :   Hi
User :   hello
Doctor :   does the child have difficulty in breathing or excessive salivation
User :   Not right now
Doctor :   does the barrette have a sharp edge ?
User :   It comes to a point, but I believe that it is rounded at the point.
Doctor :  
get an X ray of the chest done to know the whether the baby has swallowed or not
Doctor :   it will also tell the position of the metal
Doctor :  
if it is in the stomach it can be safely watched until it passes away by itself
User :   do you think that it could pass on its own without an xray
Doctor :  
x ray is just to find out where it is
Doctor :  
if it is in the air way say lungs
Doctor :  
than it requires intervention and removal
Doctor :   if in the stomach than not to worry as it will pass away by itself
User :   how long do you think it might take to paass
Doctor :  
it usually passes out with in 24 to 48 hours
User :   what are signs that it might bein airway
Doctor :   in the beginning it may be with no symptom to child coughing, breathing difficulty, rapid breathing
Doctor :  
latter pneumonia may develop if it is in the lungs
User :   what are the chances of it causing any damage if it is in the digestive system
Doctor :   the chances are very minimal say less than 10%, it only poses problem when it will get stuck in the lumen,
Doctor :  
the symptoms will be pain abdomen making the child cry and refusal of feeds, vomiting
Doctor :   it can be observed that the metal will be in the same position even after 24 or 48 hours after the initial x ray
Doctor :   than intervention for removal from the stomach is required
Doctor :  
not to worry
Doctor :  
cause most of the time it will pass of by itself
Doctor :  
but as an initial assessment it is suggested to have an x ray done because the metal do have a point edge
User :   we are also worried about the baby getting too much radiation because she has alresdy had a CT scan and an MRI
Doctor :  
MRI is not a radiation
User :   what can we do to get least amount of xrays
Doctor :   here if the metal is in lungs or if the metal is hooked to the intestine than the damage it may cause is more compared to a plan x ray
Doctor :   early detection will plan the further course of action
Doctor :   the radiation caused by the plain x ray is very much minimal
User :   if in the lungs what will they do?
Doctor :  
bronscopy and removal under general anesthesia
User :   is that done without any cutting
Doctor :   yes
User :   is the procedure similar if lodged in the stomach after 48 hrs.
Doctor :  
if it is in the stomach and upper part of the duodenum than it is same
Doctor :  
Doctor :  
if it is in the lower part of the intestine than surgery is necessary
User :   ok i guess that is all the questions i have
Doctor :  
please fill the feed back form
User :   thanks
Doctor :   thanks for consulting health care magic, we are avail;able 24/7, please do login if you have any medical query
Doctor :   bye for now
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