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Libreta de salud infantil familiar digital




 

 When a child swallows an object, parents face an alarming situation.  After the moment of deep anguish questions as regards risks, forecasts, complications, etc. arise.


 

 Children between 6 months and 3 years old are the ones more often involved in this kind of accident, but only 30 % of them face maturity, psychiatric or social risk factors.

 

 Do radiographs help?

 Complementary studies of that kind depend on the nature of the object, because plastic elements, paper, etc. cannot be seen in radiographs unlike coins, metallic objects and batteries, which can.

 

 We should point out that symptoms like choke, suffocation, pain when swallowing, persistent cough and dribbling, demand a complete radiological study of the digestive tube and the respiratory tract.

 

 Those objects in the esophagus are the ones which cause problems; they must always be extracted, whether they cause symptoms or not.

 

 The risk of complications depends on the shape of the object (round plain ones mean fewer risks than pointed sharp ones).

 

 Round flat batteries represent a special risk; they must be extracted within 24 hours because the gastric acid can erode them letting toxic substances out (mercury, zinc, lithium, etc).  By means of X rays it is possible to determine in some cases whether those batteries are broken allowing such substances to flow.

 

 Batteries can adhere to the wall of the digestive tube and cause burns or corrosion in the intestinal mucosa, which leads to a surgical conduct.

 

 Coins can be traced by means of weekly radiographs for 4 weeks, provided the child does not present obstruction symptoms and the object keeps advancing.

 

 Remember that the pediatrician is the one who decides what to do depending on the patient’s symptoms, the nature of the swallowed object, its location and permanence.

 

 Parents should bear in mind that once the child has been evaluated there is NO need to investigate in the feces with the intention of finding the object, because they are generally not easily found and besides it is a disgusting situation.

 

 Watch your child, be alert, he can find himself in problems within a second.

 

 If your child swallows an object, go immediately to the doctor and follow his/her advice.


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