Doctors in Ireland rescued a woman by removing 50 batteries from her stomach and gut after she swallowed them in an attempt to self-harm, reports said.
The unidentified 66-year-old woman was hospitalized at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin after ingesting an initially “unknown number” of cylindrical batteries, according to a report published by Irish Medical Journal last week.
During an X-ray, the medics found out that the woman had ingested a total of 55 batteries, including AA and AAA, and these were stuck in her abdomen.
However, the batteries did not obstruct her gastrointestinal tract and they did not show any structural damage. So the doctors initially took a conservative approach to treatment, allowing her to naturally pass the batteries through her body.
In the first week, the woman passed five AA batteries. However, subsequent X-rays revealed that the majority of batteries remained in her abdomen. After the patient developed complaints of diffused abdominal pain and anorexia, the doctors decided to go for surgical intervention, Live Science reported.
By then woman’s stomach was pulled down and stretched by the weight of the batteries. The surgeons made an incision to access the woman’s abdominal cavity and removed 46 batteries from her gut through laparotomy. Four batteries that were stuck in the colon were then “milked” into the rectum and removed through the anus using an anal retractor and long forceps.
“To the best of our knowledge, this case represents the highest reported number of batteries ingested at a single point in time,” the doctors said in the medical journal, adding that the woman made an uneventful recovery.
Although button battery ingestion is common in pediatric cases, the ingestion of cylindrical batteries for self-harm is a “rare presentation”. The cylindrical battery ingestion could cause potential harm including mucosal injury, perforation, obstruction, and ST-segment elevation, according to the medics.
“Ingestion of large cylindrical batteries is less frequently encountered; hence no clear practice guidelines have been developed. Potential options for dealing with cylindrical battery ingestion include conservative management, endoscopic extraction, or surgical retrieval,” the medics said in the journal.
However, “signs of airway compromise, esophageal obstruction or perforation are an indication for an emergency endoscopy,” the journal added.
If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.