Dean Donovan’s artificial hip seemed to work just fine. The 45-year-old New Zealander had surgery six years ago to treat pain and disability. In recent years he had heard concerns about metal-on-metal hip implants, like his made by Durom. The devices were prone to failing prematurely and in some cases leeching metal ions into the blood. Patients with this type of blood poisoning reported symptoms such as fatigue and headaches. Doctors say the long-term effects are unknown but researchers say the metal debris could damage DNA and lead to serious health problems, including cancer.
A few months ago, Donovan received a letter from his doctor recommending that he have his blood and urine checked for elevated levels of chromium and cobalt. X-rays and an MRI showed his device was working fine, but the blood and urine tests shocked Donovan. The tests revealed his implant was poisoning his blood. Donovan was so alarmed he opted to have his artificial hip removed.
“I didn’t like this toxicity in my system,” Donovan told the New Zealand Herald. “I came to the conclusion I wanted it out.”
New Zealand’s medicines and medical device authority Medsafe issued a recall on the Duron artificial hip socket last October, and the manufacturer has stopped making the device. The Durom alert was the fifth recall or warning on metal-on-metal hip implants in the country since 2010.
That was the same year that DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, issued a worldwide recall of its metal-on-metal ASR hip replacement system. An estimated 93,000 people are affected by that recall and currently in the United States lawsuits against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson are underway.
Hip implant recipients say companies did not thoroughly test the devices before marketing them and that they did not adequately warn consumers of the serious risks that came with using them.
Source: NZ Herald