A man showed signs of a heart attack after swallowing a battery, doctors said Monday in the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
A 26-year-old inmate in an Italian prison was taken to the emergency room for abdominal pain two hours after the patient intentionally swallowed an AA battery.
The X-ray revealed the object, where it appeared to be stuck in the man’s stomach. Doctors also performed a test called an electrocardiogram, or EKG, which measures the electrical activity of the heart.
Oddly, the EKG pattern was similar to the one typically seen when someone is having a heart attack. However, the man did not have symptoms of a heart attack, including chest pain, and there were no signs of any heart issues in the results of other tests.
Instead, the report’s authors from two hospitals in Florence, Italy, wrote that the battery – itself a source of electricity – was the source of the EKG pattern, which neatly mimicked what one saw in a heart attack patient. Will go.
Indeed, the electrical activity of the heart became normal after the battery was removed.
These EKG readings after battery ingestion are not surprising – after all, batteries conduct electricity. What the author wrote, that case baffled, had the man swallowed only one.
“Previously, these EKG changes were only described in individuals who swallowed multiple batteries,” he wrote.
“Theoretically, if you have more electrical disruption than many batteries”, you can find a cardiologist Dr. at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Luke Laffin can see more pronounced EKG changes.
Luffin, who was not involved in the man’s case, said the battery appeared to distort EKG readings, resulting in what he called a “pseudo infarction pattern”. (An acute infarction is the medical term for a heart attack, in which blood flow to the heart muscle is cut off, leading to tissue damage and death.)
Abnormal EKG readings can alert doctors to heart problems, such as heart attacks or arrhythmias. Luffin said that in the case of the man, a heart problem does not cause a change in electrical activity taken by the EKG, the battery only interferes with reading.
Because of that, he said, there would be no harm to the heart in such a case.
Still, “swallowing the battery is really dangerous – especially in children – but there aren’t really a lot of cardiac things that we worry about,” Luffin said.
A swallowed battery may also get stuck and cause blockage, or stomach acid may chew through the battery, spreading its hazardous material into the body.
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