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Toxic risk to 10,000 hip op patients say Birmingham-based Irwin Mitchell – Birmingham Mail.

Toxic risk to hip op patients

30 Oct 2012 14:18

Thousands of hip replacement patients who had metal implants fitted could be at risk of blood poisoning and long-term problems with mobility, a Midland law firm has warned.

Birmingham-based Irwin Mitchell said that around 10,000 people across Britain have had metal hip replacements, including many in the region.

Problems have been discovered with ASR devices which were recalled in August 2010 after some were found to cause excruciating pain and long-term problems with movement, due to bringing about a build-up of fluid around the joint and blood poisoning.

Some patients will have to undergo more surgery as a result.

Twelve Midland patients are now suing De Puy International Ltd, the makers of the ASR device. Irwin Mitchell is representing them, along with a further 88 sufferers across Britain.

The Medicines and Health care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned that all metal hip replacement devices have a high failure rate because rubbing between the ball and cup can cause metal to break off, seeping into tissue and causing complications.

Dr Susanne Ludgate, MHRA clinical director, said: “Clinical evidence shows that patients have a small risk of suffering complications from having metal-on-metal hip implants. As a precautionary measure, we have issued updated patient management and monitoring advice to surgeons and doctors.

“They have been advised that they should annually monitor patients for the lifetime of metal-on-metal total hip replacements that are sized 36 millimetres or more because this particular type of hip replacement has a small risk of causing complications in patients.”

Gary Walker, a product liability solicitor with Irwin Mitchell, said: “More than 10,000 people received metal hip replacements in the UK but we still don’t know the full extent as many problems may not yet have developed.

“We urge anyone who thinks they may be affected by the recall to get in touch with their surgeon or GP as soon as possible to discuss what their next steps are.

“The current guidance is that anyone with this type of implant needs annual check-ups with their surgeon to identify if the implant is failing.

“These check-ups should include monitoring the level of metal in the blood, X-rays and MRI scans.

“If any problems are identified then a patient may need to have surgery to replace the faulty implant. This is placing an enormous strain on the NHS in terms of both cost and the precious time of doctors who are having to treat patients.”

“The problems seen with the ASR and other similar hip implants, and more recently with the PIP breast implant scandal, raise serious questions about how dangerous medical devices and pharmaceuticals make it onto the market.”

Mr Walker said that De Puy International Ltd should have recalled their devices earlier.

“This device was designed for active people who rely on being able to get around easily so they can care for their grandchildren or children. But my clients have told me that they have been in lots of pain and discomfort and have had to stop work and cancel holidays.”

Concerns about metal hip replacements come as around 47,000 British women have been left worrying about their health after having controversial PIP breast implants.