Doctors sound alarm over 5-fold jump in kids swallowing magnets 

AFP
Paris, France   Published: May 12, 2021, 12:22 PM(IST)

Doctors performing a surgery (file photo) Photograph:( AFP )

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Nearly half of these kids aged four months and up required surgery to remove the magnets, often followed by complications, they reported in a research letter published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a medical journal

Doctors from major hospitals in England sounded an alarm on Wednesday over a fivefold increase in the number of young children requiring medical treatment after swallowing magnets from toys. 

Nearly half of these kids aged four months and up required surgery to remove the magnets, often followed by complications, they reported in a research letter published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a medical journal. 

From 2016 through 2020, four major hospitals in southeastern England admitted 251 children, who had swallowed a foreign object.  

Coins accounted for 37 per cent of the items ingested, ahead of magnets (21 per cent) and button batteries (17 per cent). 

Across all categories, the number of cases increased by more than half over this period. 

But those involving magnets, mostly brightly coloured, matchstick-like pieces found in building sets, jumped five-fold, they reported. 

More than 40 per cent of these incidents required surgery for removal. 

"This was either laparoscopy, also known as 'key-hole' surgery, or open abdominal surgery to retrieve the magnets from the intestine," Hemanshoo Thakkar, a paediatric surgeon at Evelina London Children's Hospital, told AFP. 

In half of the cases, there were complications. 

"As the children suffer from a perforation, their abdomen becomes contaminated and this can result in ongoing infections," Thakkar explained. 

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