Cobalt poisoning is a severe side effect of a metal-on-metal hip replacement can cause severe tissue damage, bone death, pain, and other severe symptoms. In the worst cases of cobalt poisoning, a patient may suffer permanent, disabling side effects, including cardiomyopathy (degenerative heart disease), blindness, deafness, memory loss, and more.
What You Can Do & How a Cobalt Poisoning Lawsuit Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Hip Replacement induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a hip replacement that caused cobalt poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Cobalt Poisoning Overview
Cobalt poisoning, also known as “cobaltism” or “metallosis,” is a dangerous side effect of metal hip replacements, and it occurs when excessive levels of cobalt are found in a person’s bloodstream. The metal-on-metal hip replacement is designed with a metal ball and socket. When a person walks, these metal parts grind together. The friction can cause tiny particles of cobalt and chromium to leak into nearby tissues and the bloodstream.
- Normal cobalt levels are around 0.019 micrograms per deciliter of blood, or approximately one microgram in the body
- When cobalt levels reach 0.7 micrograms per deciliter of blood, a patient should undergo regular blood tests and be monitored for signs of emerging complications
- If the cobalt levels reach 1.9 micrograms per deciliter of blood, a doctor will likely recommend that the metal hip replacement should be removed. Patients who have the source of cobalt poisoning removed from their body often have normal cobalt levels within 6 months. However, if the cobalt poisoning was ongoing or severe, the patient may have permanent disability, bone loss, tissue death, or other severe side effects
Cobalt and Hip Replacements
Cobalt is an important alloy in metal hip replacements. Cobalt was chosen for use in hip replacements because it is extremely resistant to wear and corrosion. When the metal-on-metal hip replacements were designed, they were intended to be used in active, younger hip implant recipients. Now, there is growing evidence that the metal-on-metal design has a higher risk of 5-year failure than ceramic or plastic designs. European experts are now calling for a ban of these devices, and some health authorities are recommending that all people who have these devices undergo blood tests. In America, the FDA has not yet made a recommendation. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been implanted with these devices, and the FDA approved them without requiring the manufacturers to submit safety data.
When a metal hip replacement is manufactured, cobalt is blended with chromium and tungsten carbide. In recent years, the use of cobalt-chromium hip replacements has risen dramatically. In 2010, approximately 35% of all hip replacements were a cobalt-chromium design.
Symptoms of Cobalt Poisoning
To read about two cases of cobalt poisoning in two metal-on-metal hip replacement patients in Alaska, click here (PDF).
The symptoms of cobalt poisoning typically appear gradually over time. The first symptom may be a burning sensation or pain in the hip. This is often caused by particles of metal irritating and inflaming the tissues in the hip area.
Doctors warn that people who have impaired renal function, kidney problem, or metal sensitivity have a higher risk of cobalt poisoning or other severe hip replacement side effects.
Symptoms of cobalt poisoning include, but are not limited to:
- Elevated levels of cobalt in the bloodstream
- Visual impairment (blindness)
- Cardiomyopathy (heart failure)
- Cognitive impairment
- Auditory impairment (deafness)
- Peripheral neuropathy
Do I have a Cobalt Poisoning Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting hip replacement induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has suffered cobalt poisoning caused by a hip replacement, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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