Assault by battery: Battery-related injury in the head and neck

Peter F. Svider, Andrew P. Johnson, Adam J. Folbe, Michael A. Carron, Jean Anderson Eloy, Giancarlo Zuliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To estimate nationwide incidence of emergency department (ED) visits for battery-related injury (BRI) occurring in the head and neck, and analyze demographic and anatomic-specific trends. Methods: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) was searched for BRI in the head and neck, with analysis for incidence, anatomic site, age and gender, and specific diagnoses. Results: There were an estimated 18,803 head and neck BRI ED visits from 2003 to 2012. A total of 65.8% of patients were male. A total of 92.8% of patients were treated/examined and then released, and 4.7% of patients were admitted. A plurality (34.2%) of patients had BRI related to nose injures, and this represented the youngest cohort (median: 3 years old). The vast majority of ear and nose diagnoses were "foreign bodies"; two-thirds of mouth injuries were related to burns, whereas lacerations predominated in the face and head. Nearly half of ED visits involved patients between 2 and 5 years of age. A total of 45.2% of cases involving patients ≥ 65 years of age were related to hearing aid batteries as foreign bodies. Conclusion: BRI in the head and neck results in a significant amount of ED visits. Mechanisms of injury vary by age and anatomic location, but a considerable male predilection exists. Whereas pediatric patients are primarily affected, particularly patients between 2 to 5 years of age, injuries do occur among adults. Importantly, the prevalence of dislodged hearing-aid batteries in the elderly necessitates comprehensive patient education to increase awareness and counseling regarding this complication. Awareness of demographic and anatomic-specific trends reported in this analysis may be an invaluable adjunct for history-taking and clinical examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2257-2261
Number of pages5
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


  • Batteries
  • Battery-related injury
  • Chemical burns
  • Foreign bodies
  • National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
  • Thermal burns


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