Should Pennies Retained in the Stomach Be Removed?

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Journal of Family Practice


Pennies are among the most common objects ingested, especially within the pediatric population.(1,2) Conservative management of gastric coins has been the traditional approach. Two recent studies demonstrate that post-1982 pennies within the stomach may react differently than expected.(3,4) Pennies produced before 1982 consist of 95% copper and 5% zinc; however, post-1982 pennies contain 97.6% zinc and 2.4% copper coating. We report the reaction of post-1982 pennies when placed in acid at gastric pH.