Over 3,500 DePuy ASR hip devices were implanted in patients in Ireland since 2003. The IMB has been collaborating with the HSE and Irish Orthopaedic Surgeons on recommendations as to how to conduct individual patient follow-ups. As of July 2012, the HSE indicated that about 96% of patients implanted with the metal-on-metal devices had attended for a review. To date more than 350 patients have undergone expensive revision surgery to have the devices removed with an additional 166 patients currently scheduled for revision surgery.
It is to be expected that in the very near future all patients have undergone follow up appointments and decisions as to whether the devices are to be removed or not will have been taken. Currently an independent review of the explanted devices is being conducted at the London Implant Retrieval Centre.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed in the Irish High Court against the Manufacturer of the device DePuy Orthopaedics.
Speaking about the extent of the revision surgeries carried out to date Liam Moloney, Injury Solicitor in Naas Co Kildare who is acting on behalf of many of the DePuy patients in their lawsuits said today “these hip device implants were marketed to last for at least 20 years and to provide increased range of Motion when compared to the traditional hip replacement devices made with plastic or ceramic components. Instead the metal-on-metal hip devices have been associated with high and pre-mature failure rates, increased blood metal ion levels and metal poisoning. There has been thousands of cases launched in the US and across the Globe concerning complaints of pain, fracture, dislocation and lack of balance from people who got these devices”.
Mechanical wear of hip device implants was seen in all types of devices over time. The femoral head and acetabular cup components surfaces rotate against each other with normal wear and tear such as walking. With metal-on-metal systems tiny shards of metal may be released leading to the accumulation of cobalt and chromium metal ions within the area surrounding the implant.
Speaking about the speed upon which these devices got on to the European Market Liam Moloney said “emerging research has revealed that some hip implants on the market today received clearance with little or no proof of safety. The current Medical Device Regulations are entirely inadequate. The growing controversies surrounding high failure rates and injuries associated with metal hip devices has shown the need for an immediate overhaul of the current medical device clearance procedures. “