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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 30(6); 2019 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2019;30(6): 603-607.
Caution warnings are required for the sale of neodymium magnets in Korea
Sung Eun Kim1 , Ben Kang1 , Byung-Ho Choe1 , Jinyoung Park2 , Keon Kim3 , Jae Young Choe4
1Departments of Pediatrics and Surgery, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
2Departments of Surgery, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
3Department of Emergency Medicine, Ewha Womans University Seoul Hospital, Seoul, Korea
4Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
Correspondence  Jae Young Choe ,Tel: 053-200-6400, Fax: 053-428-2820, Email: choejy@hanmail.net,
Received: May 1, 2019; Revised: July 26, 2019   Accepted: July 30, 2019.  Published online: December 31, 2019.
Recent reports indicate that the number of children presenting to the emergency department after ingesting magnets has increased over the last decade. Since neodymium magnets became commercially available, reports of complications caused by their ingestion have accrued in Korea. Neodymium magnets are tens of times stronger than ordinary magnets; hence, complications associated with their ingestion are severe. These “super magnets” can be purchased without any restriction. We report the case of a healthy 4-year-old girl who ingested multiple neodymium magnets. The magnets were attached to each other, with the lower esophageal sphincter trapped between them. Endoscopic removal failed, and surgical intervention was required. Unlike ordinary magnets, endoscopic removal of neodymium magnets is difficult due to their strong attraction to each other. In order to prevent potentially tragic accidents and their subsequent surgery, a cautionary warning is essential on toys containing neodymium magnets, to inform the public of the increasingly evident dangers of these “super magnets.”
Key words: Foreign bodies; Magnets; Neodymium; Endoscopy; Child
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