High-Powered Magnet Exposures in Children: A Multi-Center Cohort Study

Leah K. Middelberg, Julie C. Leonard, Junxin Shi, Arturo Aranda, Julie C. Brown, Christina L. Cochran, Kasi Eastep, Raquel Gonzalez, Maya Haasz, Scott Herskovitz, Jennifer A. Hoffmann, Alexander Koral, Abdulraouf Lamoshi, Steven Levitte, Yu Hsiang J. Lo, Taylor Montminy, Inna Novak, Kenneth Ng, Nathan M. Novotny, Raphael H. ParradoWenly Ruan, Joseph Shapiro, Elizabeth M. Sinclair, Amanda M. Stewart, Saurabh Talathi, Melissa M. Tavarez, Peter Townsend, Julia Zaytsev, Bryan Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: High-powered magnets were effectively removed from the US market by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2012 but returned in 2016 after federal court decisions. The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit cited imprecise data among other reasons as justification for overturning CPSC protections. Since then, incidence of high-powered magnet exposure has increased markedly, but outcome data are limited. In this study, we aim to describe the epidemiology and outcomes in children seeking medical care for high-powered magnets after reintroduction to market. METHODS: This is a multicenter, retrospective cohort study of patients aged 0 to 21 years with a confirmed high-powered magnet exposure (ie, ingestion or insertion) at 25 children's hospitals in the United States between 2017 and 2019. RESULTS: Of 596 patients with high-powered magnet exposures identified, 362 (60.7%) were male and 566 (95%) were <14 years of age. Nearly all sought care for magnet ingestion (n = 574, 96.3%), whereas 17 patients (2.9%) presented for management of nasal or aural magnet foreign bodies, 4 (0.7%) for magnets in their genitourinary tract, and 1 patient (0.2%) had magnets in their respiratory tract. A total of 57 children (9.6%) had a life-threatening morbidity; 276 (46.3%) required an endoscopy, surgery, or both; and 332 (55.7%) required hospitalization. There was no reported mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Despite being intended for use by those >14 years of age, high-powered magnets frequently cause morbidity and lead to high need for invasive intervention and hospitalization in children of all ages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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