Clinical Review| Volume 58, ISSUE 6, P902-909, June 2020

Download started.


Case Discussions and Radiographic Illustration of Magnet-Related Injuries in Children



      Injuries from multiple magnet ingestions in the pediatric population have been increasing in both incidence and morbidity. This trend will likely continue after a 2017 court ruling that overturned a ban on the sale of magnet sets marketed as “adult desk toys.” Depending on the arrangement of the ingested magnets in the gastrointestinal tract, the consequences can range from benign to life threatening.


      This review of cases aims to help clinicians recognize this pathology and help them appreciate the unique management of this type of foreign body ingestion.


      Several cases are presented that individually illustrate an arm of the most comprehensive management algorithm, proposed by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. The management is largely driven by the clinical appearance of the child as well as information obtained through abdominal radiographs. Imaging variables that factor into management include the location of the magnets, the number of magnets, and the progression of magnets on serial radiographs.


      This article uses cases and illustrative medical imaging to describe the most common scenarios and their management. This is especially relevant considering recent U.S. court rulings that overturned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's ban on the sale of toys containing multiple miniature magnets.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Emergency Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Naji H.
        • Isacson D.
        • Svensson J.F.
        • Wester T.
        Bowel injuries caused by ingestion of multiple magnets in children: a growing hazard.
        Pediatr Surg Int. 2011; 28: 367-374
        • Agbo C.
        • Lee L.
        • Chiang V.
        • et al.
        Magnet-related injury rates in children.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013; 57: 14-17
        • Silverman J.A.
        • Brown J.C.
        • Willis M.
        • Ebel B.
        Increase in pediatric magnet-related foreign bodies requiring emergency care.
        Ann Emerg Med. 2013; 62: 604-608.e1
        • Strickland M.
        • Rosenfield D.
        • Fecteau A.
        Magnetic foreign body injuries: a large pediatric hospital experience.
        J Pediatr. 2014; 165: 332-335
        • Tavares M.M.
        • Saladino R.A.
        • Gaines B.A.
        • Manole M.D.
        Prevalence, clinical features and management of pediatric magnetic foreign body ingestions.
        J Emerg Med. 2013; 44: 261-268
        • Nui A.
        • Hirama T.
        • Katsuramaki T.
        • et al.
        An intestinal volvulus caused by multiple magnet ingestion: an unexpected risk in children.
        J Pediatr Surg. 2005; 40: e9-e11
        • Rosenfield D.
        • Strickland M.
        • Fecteau A.
        Cases: magnet ingestion by a 3- year-old boy.
        CMAJ. 2013; 185: 972-974
        • US Consumer Product Safety Commission
        Child’s death prompts replacement program of magnet building sets.
        (Available at:)
      1. Final rule: safety standard for magnet sets.
        (Available at:)
        • Reeves P.T.
        • Nylund C.M.
        • Krishnamurthy J.
        • Noel R.A.
        • Abbas M.I.
        Trends of magnet ingestion in children, an ironic attraction.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2018; 66: e116-e121
        • Rosenfield D.
        • Strickland M.
        • Hepburn C.M.
        After the recall: reexamining multiple magnet ingestion at a large pediatric hospital.
        J Pediatr. 2017; 186: 78-81
        • Siegelbaum M.
        Denver-based Zen Magnets cleared to resume sales—for now. The Denver Post.
        (Available at:)
        • Frankel T.C.
        Number of children swallowing dangerous magnets surges as industry largely polices itself.
        The Washington Post, 2019 (Available at:)
        • Vijaysadan V.
        • Perez M.
        • Kuo D.
        Revisiting swallowed troubles: intestinal complications caused by two magnets—a case report, review and proposed revision to the algorithm for the management of foreign body ingestion.
        J Am Board Fam Med. 2006; 19: 511-516
        • Hussain S.Z.
        • Bousvaros A.
        • Gilger M.
        • et al.
        Management of ingested magnets in children.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2012; 55: 239-242