Beverage can stay-tabs: still a source for inadvertently ingested foreign bodies in children
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- Donnelly, L.F. Pediatr Radiol (2010) 40: 1485. doi:10.1007/s00247-010-1651-5
In the 1970s in part to avoid inadvertent ingestion, the beverage-can industry changed can construction from pull-tabs to the stay-tabs (remain attached to can after opening) used today.
Our purpose is to identify the number of inadvertent ingestions of beverage-can stay-tabs by children recognized at our institution.
Materials and methods
The medical information system of a children’s hospital was searched with key terms to identify cases in which a witnessed or self-reported inadvertent ingestion of a beverage-can stay-tab resulted in a radiograph to rule out presence of a foreign body. Demographics, identification of stay-tab on radiographs, associated abnormalities, and patient management were reviewed.
Nineteen cases of stay-tab ingestion were identified over 16 years. Mean age of ingesters was 8.5 years with the majority being teenagers and 15 (79%) >5 years of age. The stay-tab could be seen radiographically only in 4 (21%) cases—all with the stay-tab identified in the stomach.
The identification of 19 children who inadvertently ingested beverage-can stay-tabs at a single children’s hospital suggests that such ingestions still occur. Radiologists should be aware that stay-tabs are radiographically visible in the minority (21%) of cases.