Doctors in Ireland recently removed more than 50 AA and AAA batteries from a 66-year-old woman's gut and stomach after she swallowed them in an apparent act of deliberate self-harm.
Citing a report published in the Irish Medical Journal, the Huff Post reported that the woman was treated at St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin after ingesting an initially "unknown number" of cylindrical batteries. Her X-ray revealed foreign objects in her body, but doctors said that thankfully none appeared to be obstructing her gastrointestinal (GI) tract and no batteries showed signs of structural damage.
Initially, doctors waited for the woman to pass batteries out of her body naturally. Over a one-week period, the patient even managed to pass five AA batteries. However, X-rays taken over the following three weeks showed that most were still stuck inside - and the woman also started to experience abdominal pain.
Owing to the weight of the batteries, the distended stomach ended up hanging above the pubic bone, the doctors explained. The team then cut a small hole in the stomach and removed 46 batteries - including both AA and AAA batteries - from the organ.
As per Science Alert, the four remaining batteries, stuck in the colon, were "milked" into her rectum and removed through the anus. This brought the total number of ingested batteries to 55. A final X-ray scan then confirmed that the woman's GI tract was officially battery-free and she went on to have an "uneventful recovery".
"To the best of our knowledge, this case represents the highest reported number of batteries ingested at a single point in time," the doctors said as per the outlet.
"The deliberate ingestion of multiple large AA batteries as a form of deliberate self-harm is an unusual presentation," they added. The team also noted that the act can cause severe issues, including "mucosal injury, perforation and obstruction". "The potential of cylindrical batteries to result in acute surgical emergencies should not be underestimated," doctors stated.