Publication Date





As button battery (BB) ingestion has become a popular topic with growing public awareness in recent years, pediatric otolaryngologists maintain a high index of suspicion for this diagnosis. Several recent reports have revealed the possibility for benign objects to masquerade as BBs, such as two coins stacked together or a coin with different metals in concentric rings. A 4-year-old female presented to the ED after unwitnessed ingestion of a foreign body. The child was reportedly seen playing with her sister's coin collection prior to the acute onset of drooling and dysphagia. She was vitally stable and without any shortness of breath, stridor, or wheezing. Plain film X-ray revealed a round, metallic object with a double density on the frontal view and beveled step-off on the lateral view at the level of the thoracic inlet. Due to high radiographic concern for BB ingestion, the patient was taken emergently to the operating room for a rigid esophagoscopy. A metallic object was seen at the thoracic inlet and removed with Magill forceps. The object was found to be two coins stuck together, with a smaller coin in the center of a larger coin mimicking the shape of a BB. The patient was discharged the next day without complication. This case highlights stacked coins as a radiologic masquerade for BBs as well as the emphasis on prompt esophagoscopy for both identification and removal. Radiographic densities alone cannot be relied upon to distinguish BBs from more innocuous objects, and esophagoscopy remains the mainstay of management for pediatric esophageal foreign bodies.


esophagoscopy, radiographic interpretation, foreign body ingestion, coin, button battery


PMID: 37303330



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