Sunday, March 4, 2012

New guidance issued for patients with metal-on-metal hip implants (in England)

 

Published on 29/02/2012
 
New guidance has been issued for patients with metal-on-metal hip implants to prevent thousands of people suffering adverse complications. [excerpts from article on  Active Quote web site)

Previous guidance issued in 2010 by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said patients with metal-on-metal implants only needed to be followed up for 5 years.
But the Regulatory Agency has now issued new guidance, saying that all patients with metal hip implants made from a metal cup with a 36mm ball or larger should have regular blood tests to see if metal ions have leaked into the blood.

The test should be repeated every three months. If the metal ion level has risen the patient should be given a MRI scan to check for muscle damage.

People with very high levels of metal ions would have the hip replaced.
If the test shows that the level of metal ions is not rising, it should be repeated every year for as long as the patient has the implant. Patients who are already experiencing swelling, pain or other symptoms should be sent for an MRI and have the hip replaced as necessary.

Dr Susanne Ludgate, Clinical Director of the MHRA, said: "We recognise there is a toxicity association with very high levels of cobalt and chromium levels.

"As far as we can find there have been nine cases of patients who have had such high levels (of metal ions in the blood) that it has manifested itself in symptoms like neurological problems and in all these cases this was reversed when the hip was taken out."

Dr Ludgate advised that it is up to the orthopaedic surgeon to contact their patients and arrange these tests, but if people are worried they should visit their GP.

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[ From connie: If you are a hip replacement patient with MOM hips, you should ask your surgeon about having  your blood levels checked regardless of whether you are experiencing pain.]

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