Magnet ingestion in growing children: a multi-center observational study on single and multiple magnet incidents

Alansari A. N., Baykuziyev T., SOYER T., Akıncı S. M., Al Ali K. K., Aljneibi A., ...More

Scientific Reports, vol.14, no.1, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-024-55127-0
  • Journal Name: Scientific Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, Chemical Abstracts Core, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Children, Magnet ingestion, Multiple magnetic foreign bodies, Surgery
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Over the past 15 years, there has been a noticeable uptick in incidents involving children ingesting multiple magnetic foreign bodies which can cause injuries and gastrointestinal complications including death. The current study aimed to identify the prevalence, clinical presentation, and management of single or multiple magnet ingestions. A retrospective multi-central cross-sectional study was conducted to include all pediatric patients < 18 years presented to the emergency department with ingestion of single or multiple magnets and admitted across hospitals in Qatar, UAE, KSA, Tunisia, and Turkey between January 2011 and December 2021. Demographics, symptoms, management, and outcomes were analyzed. There were 189 magnet ingestions, of which 88 (46.6%) were multiple magnet ingestions. Most patients (55.6%) were male, and the median age was 3.9 (IQR 2–7) years. An abdominal X-ray was obtained in all cases. 119 (62%) patients were conservatively treated, 53 (28%) required surgical intervention and 17 (8.9%) underwent gastroscopy. None of the patients with single magnet ingestions experienced morbidity or severe outcomes. Multiple magnet ingestions led to significant morbidity including hospitalizations, perforations (44.3%), severe intestinal necrosis (19.3%), peritonitis (13.6%), severe abdominal infection (10.2%), and septic shock (4.5%). The rate of surgical intervention (59.1% vs. 1.0%) and gastroscopy (15.9% vs. 3.0%) was significantly higher in the multiple ingestion group compared to the single magnet ingestion group. No deaths were identified. A high risk of serious complications, including the need for surgery to remove the magnets and substantial morbidity may result from swallowing more than one magnet. Magnet safety requirements, public education, and improved legislation are urgently required.