Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 154–156 | Cite as

Radiographic identification of ingested disc batteries

  • M. D. Maves
  • T. V. Lloyd
  • J. S. Carithers
Short Reports


Recently, the hazards posed by the accidental ingestion and impaction of small disc batteries have been widely publicized in the medical and lay press. These foreign bodies, when lodged in the esophagus, leak a caustic solution of 26 to 45% sodium or potassium hydroxide which can cause a burn injury to the esophagus in a very short period of time. Because of the considerable clinical morbidity and mortality from this foreign body, it becomes imperative for the radiologist to quickly and accurately identify disc batteries on plain radiographs. This communication offers a series of radiologic signs important in the identification of disc batteries. When viewed in an anterior projection, disc batteries demonstrate a double density shadow due to the bilaminar structure of the battery. On lateral view, the edges of most disc batteries are round and again present a step-off at the junction of the cathode and anode. These findings are differentiated from the more common esophageal foreign body of a coin which does not have a double density on frontal projection, has a much sharper edge and no visible stepoff.


Hydroxide Foreign Body Lateral View Potassium Hydroxide Plain Radiograph 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Maves
    • 1
  • T. V. Lloyd
    • 2
  • J. S. Carithers
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa City
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyChildren's HospitalColumbus
  3. 3.Departments of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck SurgeryChildren's Hospital and The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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