Foreign body ingestion is common in children. Ingestion of multiple magnetic foreign bodies poses a significant risk of complications as they are unlikely to pass spontaneously.
We present our interesting case of a 5 Year old girl, complaining of right iliac fossa pain not relieved with paracetamol, associated with 2 episodes of vomiting and one episode of loose bowel motion. Abdominal examination revealed tender right iliac fossa with weak rebound and mild guarding with no rigidity. WBC was 16.9, with 12.68 neutrophils, with normal urea, creatinine, amylase, CRP and liver function tests. Patient was admitted for suspected appendicitis versus gastroenteritis.
Abdominal ultrasound showed free fluid in the pelvis, appendix was not seen and there was a mass in the right iliac fossa. The patient was started on intravenous co-amoxiclav and diagnostic laparoscopy revealed a normal appendix with free fluid in pelvis. The omentum was stuck to terminal ileum with two necrotic patches and a perforation in the terminal ileum with magnetic foreign bodies protruding from the perforation site.There was no peritoneal contamination.
Laparotomy was performed via right lower transverse incision with resection & anastomosis of necrotic perforated bowel segment and removal of three magnetic foreign bodies from the terminal ileum. Patient had smooth postoperative recovery.
The Ingestion of multiple magnets, or a magnet with a metallic object should be considered an impending surgical emergency as it is unlikely to pass spontaneously and complications are more likely. There are no reports where more than one magnet was passed spontaneously. The possibility of foreign body ingestion should always be considered in a young child presenting with abdominal symptoms. Early intervention is indicated if the history, clinical findings and imaging are suggestive of multiple magnetic ingestion to prevent serious life threatening complications.