Many of you will have read our previous blogs about the DePuy hip implant recall. There is now only a FEW WEEKS remaining for a number of those affected by the recall to lodge a claim. 3,282 Irish patients were fitted with DePuy ASR hip implants. Experts have found “unequivocal evidence” of high failure rates and the ASR total hip implant has now been shown to have a failure rate of up to 50% within six years. In today’s blog I will remind you of the symptoms experienced by patients with faulty DePuy implants, the concerns surrounding metallosis and recent findings on metal-on-metal implants.
We represent many patients who received the faulty DePuy implants. Some patients have symptoms showing that the device they received has started to fail and have even had their revision surgery at this stage. Other patients, however, have no obvious symptoms at all.
Our experts have given us a list of symptoms, which show the failure of the device:
- Continuing hip, groin, leg, or low-back pain
- Audible noises such as crunching, clicking, grinding, or metallic sounds coming from the ASR device
- The sensation that one`s hip is not “in place,” especially when standing up or starting to walk
- Loss of ability to perform physical activities, reduction in mobility and noticeable limp
- Swelling in the affected hip area or generalised hip pain, discomfort, pressure or tenderness and;
- Loosening of the various components in the implant, necrosis or soft tissue damage and elevated cobalt and chromium levels in the blood due to exposure to metal.
We have identified common symptoms in patients with elevated blood ion levels:
- Rashes, skin patches and skin discolouration
- Memory loss/difficulties
- Eyesight deterioration
- Changes in urine
Despite recent research, there is still a lack of certainty as to the actual affect that these metal ions in the bloods can have.
One of the greatest concerns for patients is what is called Metallosis and its relatively unknown effects. The DePuy hip devices are metal-on-metal, therefore wear and tear caused by movement over time can lead to metal ions being released into the blood and urine. This can lead to a build-up of metal debris around the hip device itself. There is an alarming degree of ignorance out there about the effect metal on metal implants have on patients where there are high chromium or cobalt readings.
In 2007, the Lancet medical journal said that the recommended levels of ions in the body had not yet been clarified.
In two recent medical reports published in the British Medical Journal and the Lancet Medical Journal experts new findings indicate a necessity for patients with Metal-on-Metal implants to be monitored at least once yearly.
The BMJ report advises that metal ions can seep in to the local tissue can cause reactions which can destroy both muscle and bone and in turn result in long term disability. They can also seep into the bloodstream and are toxic to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, kidneys and other organs as they pass through the body. The report warns of potential link between the release of metal ions into the body and the risk of developing cancer. The report also advises that levels of cobalt in the blood in excess of 7μg/L should be investigated.
The Lancet Report recommends that MoM implants should no longer be used and for those patients who have received MoM implants it is recommended that clinical and radiological reviews be carried out at least once per year for the lifespan of the implant to monitor metal ion levels in the bloods and changes in the implant.
We represent a considerable amount of clients who have been directly affected by the DePuy hip implant recall. We hosted an International DePuy hip implant recall conference in March 2011 and featured on Prime Time’s “Out on a Limb” programme in November 2011. We continue to work closely with Patient Focus to continue to research and highlight the DePuy issue on behalf of clients.