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Fallout from DePuy ASR Hip Implant Recall Felt Globally
The impact of the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR hip implant recall is not limited to the US. Around 93,000 DePuy ASR hip replacements were implanted in patients around the world, including 3,500 Irish patients. Now, like many of their counterparts in the US, many victims of the defective hip replacement are considering legal action against DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson.
In August, DePuy issued a worldwide recall of the ASR XL Acetabular System, a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, a partial hip replacement that involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur. Only the ASR XL Acetabular System was approved for use in the US.
The DePuy hip recall was issued after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the recalled hip replacement had to undergo revision surgery within five years of receiving it. A hip implant should last for 15 years or so.
The recall followed a warning DePuy issued in March 2010 regarding the same implant. In a letter, DePuy warned doctors that recently analyzed data from Australia suggested that the ASR had a higher-than-expected failure rate when used in traditional hip replacement on certain types of patient. According to the letter, patients of small stature, a group that typically includes women and patients with weak bones, faced the highest risk of DePuy hip implant problems.
According to the Independent, an Irish media outlet, many of the 3,500 Irish ASR hip implant patients still don’t know if they will require revision surgery. The Irish Health Services Executive (HSE) invited such patients to return to the hospital for tests to find out if any problems had developed and if they needed to be operated on again, but most are in the initial stages of assessment.
According to the Independent, an Irish law firm is planning to launch legal action against DePuy, and held a meeting with two experts – mechanical engineer Dr Thomas Joyce and orthopaedic surgeon David Langton – in Dublin on Saturday. One of the Irish attorneys told the Independent that around 400 in that country may need new surgery, but everyone who received the implant “has a potential action against the manufacturer and also the distributor of the product”.
In the US, some DePuy ASR hip implant patients have already filed lawsuits. Since the August recall, around 150 US claims have been filed against DePuy by victims of the ASR hip implant, and many more such suits are expected. Recently, all federal lawsuits involving the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Ohio.
The DePuy Acetabular Hip Replacement System is a metal-on-metal hip implant made of chromium and cobalt, the device consists of a cup that’s implanted into the hip with a ball joint that connects to the leg. It is believed that many of the complications linked to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip implant are caused by wearing of the metal components, which can allow metal shavings to make their way into patients’ bloodstreams. The resulting cobalt poisoning could increase the risk of a number of heath problems, including dementia and heart failure. DePuy now recommends that implant patients have a blood test to check for high levels of chromium and cobalt.