When Johnson & Johnson recalled its DePuy metal hip implants, one potential concern was that elevated levels of metal ions in the blood stream could increase the risk of dementia and heart failure. Unfortunately, recent cases indicate that patients may experience heart problems due to metal hips even when there is no obvious problem with their hip replacement joints.
Metal-on-metal hips have been a source of increasing concern in recent years as more patients experience failures and require revision surgery. The risk of heart-attacks is just one more worry to add to the list for patients who had a metal-on-metal device implanted. Patients harmed by these hip replacements should consult with a defective medical device attorney at DeCarlo Law to understand their rights to compensation from the manufacturer.
Heart Attack Risk for Hip Implant Patients
The New York Times recently highlighted case studies in two leading medical journals regarding patients who had experienced cardiac problems caused by metal hip joints. In one case, a patient suffered from profound loss of vision and hearing; esophageal inflammation, low thyroid hormone levels and a heart so weak it couldn't pump enough blood to his body. His arteries were fine despite the coronary heart failure, leaving doctors confused as to the cause of his ailments.
Ironically, the patient was finally diagnosed properly because a doctor had seen an episode of the medical TV show House, where a patient was suffering from similar systems. On the show, and in real life, it turned out the problems were caused by cobalt poisoning from an artificial metal hip.
The patient suffering from the cardiac problems had a cobalt level that was 1,000 times what was normal due to metal ions from his hip replacement. The man had, in the past, had parts of his broken ceramic hip left inside of the body. With each movement, the metal parts of his new hip joint were eroded by the ceramic parts, releasing the cobalt ions into his body. When his metal hip was replaced with a ceramic one, his cobalt levels dropped and his symptoms improved.
The other case study involved a woman who had fluid accumulating around her heart and who had heart failure the doctors could not diagnose. After a heart transplant, the cause of her problem was accidentally discovered on a routine visit to an orthopedist. It was elevated cobalt levels. Her cobalt level declined once the metal hip implants were replaced.
These stories are troubling because, in both cases, the patients had not exhibited some of the obvious signs of hip implant failure such as pain or limited motion. The stories show the possibility for serious side effects of hip implants that may not be diagnosed right away, forcing patients to undergo painful and expensive treatments and potentially resulting in serious damage. While these patients have now been diagnosed, countless others are likely unaware that their heart problems are caused by their hip joints.
Any patient with a metal-on-metal hip needs to know of the dangers of metal toxicity, and that this toxicity can occur even without other outward signs of hip implant failure. The levels of metal ions in the body should be checked so that patient can be correctly diagnosed.
A defective medical device attorney can help victims harmed by dangerous drugs. Call DeCarlo Law today at 877-572-0065 or visit www.decarlolaw.com to schedule a consultation.