A National Patient Safety Alert has just been issued by the NHS England and NHS Improvement National Patient Safety Team and Royal College of Emergency Medicine on the need for urgent assessment/treatment following ingestion of ‘super strong’ magnets.
Small powerful magnets, also known as neodymium or ‘super strong’ rare-earth magnets, are sold as toys, decorative items and fake piercings, and are becoming increasingly popular. Unlike traditional magnets, these ‘super strong’ magnets are small in volume but powerful in magnetism and easily swallowed.
If more than one ‘super strong’ magnet is swallowed separately, or a ‘super strong’ magnet is swallowed with a metallic object, they can be strongly attracted together from different parts of the intestines. This compression of bowel tissue can cause necrosis and perforation of the intestines and/or blood vessels within hours. Therefore urgent assessment and treatment is vital.
Picture is a screenshot of the full guidance document.