Shaare Zedek: Dipping Batteries in Honey


A new directive has been formulated at Shaare Zedek: when children over a year old swallow batteries, immediately give them some honey


Recent studies show that honey ingested immediately after swallowing can help delay burns and internal complications resulting from the disintegration of the batteries in the esophagus.

Regular honey, 1-2 teaspoons every 5 minutes, until the battery is removed at a hospital, significantly lowered the level of damage and complications.

The new directive recommends beginning the honey treatment at home and coming in immediately to ER. Speedy treatment can help prevent serious internal damage.

At Shaare Zedek we stress that giving honey to babies under a year old is not recommended, even if they have swallowed a battery.

Until these findings, there was no immediate way to limit damage and burns in the time before any medical procedure to extract the battery.

About a month ago, we had case in the Glaubach Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, in which parents brought in a three-year-old girl suspecting she had swallowed something. An X-ray revealed a large battery wedged in her esophagus and actually endangering her life.

In a fast emergency procedure, our Pediatric Gastroenterology team managed to remove the battery endoscopically. Even though the battery had only been in the esophagus for about two hours, it had already caused severe burns, which needed the multi-disciplinary intervention of gastro surgeons, otolaryngologists and cardiothoracic surgeons. The girl received comprehensive treatment and after about a month in hospital she was finally discharged with a clean bill of health.

Following a string of complex cases like this, Shaare Zedek's gastro experts searched for a way to limit the damage, hence in cases of battery swallowing, it was decided to test out the research conclusions for the first time in Israel.

Dr. Oren Leder, Senior Specialist in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Coordinator of Endoscopic Pediatric Treatment, says, "Unfortunately, swallowing objects is very common among infants and children and the danger grows when it's batteries stuck in the esophagus. This is one of the classic emergency cases in Gastroenterology. Applying the new research findings at Shaare Zedek could save lives and prevent much inner damage and burning."