Gigamole had posted on the DePuy ASR hip implant before. Here is an alert issued from the UK Regulators (MHRA - Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) just yesterday.
The United Kingdom with Australia are the two regulatory agencies who have tracked this problem, and had been responsible for flagging up the very high rates of surgical revisions for patients who have been implanted with these prostheses. In 2010, the UK reported revision rates of about 12-13%, compared to usual revision rates of about 1-3%. This prompted DePuy to implement a global recall of the implants. In Singapore, the HSA reported that there were only 319 implants done, with only 1 revision. One must seriously doubt this figure because HSA does not regulate such medical devices and do not have any kind of tracking process in place, so the revision rates they report are only what surgeons and DePuy want to tell them about. One revision in 319 is an amazingly unbelievable success rate by any standards, so clearly the surgeons are not telling anyone about their surgical failures and the need for surgical revisions.
The HSA has generally left it to the company DePuy and the surgeons to muddle through by themselves, thereby leaving the patients entirely at the mercy of those responsible for this mess.
In any case, the MHRA has deemed it important enough to issue another alert, this one just coming off the press yesterday. You can look through the alert yourself, and if you don't understand the technical aspects, you can just email me and I will try and explain to you.
All patients who have had hip replacements done should get their surgeons to give them the details of surgery and the type of implant that was used.
To summarize, the MHRA recommends that all patients having these Depuy ASR implants, whether symptomatic or not, to undergo an MRI or ultrasound scan. If the images are abnormal, surgical revision should be considered.
All patients should have their blood analysed for chromium and cobalt levels. If the levels are high and rising, surgical revision should be considered. Patient follow-up should be for as long as the implant is in the body.
Obviously these costs should not be borne by the patient.
It is very unlikely that surgeons are either able or willing to recall all their patients who have had such implants done, so many patients will not be aware of the need for follow up or for implants to be removed. And HSA isn't really doing very much about this. So please feel free to circulate this information to friends or family members who have had hip replacements done. At the very least, they should get the relevant details from their orthopaedic surgeons.
7 years ago