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Metal Hip Implants and Heart Problems

Metal Hip Implants and Heart Problems

According to a new warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), metal-on-metal hip implants have been linked to serious, life-threatening heart problems. These potential risks include heart attacks and cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart muscle). The problem is that the implants can shed toxic particles of cobalt into the patient’s bloodstream, which can potentially damage the heart muscle.

What You Can Do & How a Hip Implant Lawsuit Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective hip implant induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured by a severe hip implant side effect, 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.

Hip Implants and Heart Problems

Metal-on-metal hip implants are usually made of cobalt and chromium. When a patient with a metal hip implant walks or runs, the metal “ball and socket” scrape together and may shed tiny particles of metal. Chromium debris tends to accumulate around the hip implant, but cobalt ions are highly soluble and can travel in a patient’s bloodstream and cause systemic reactions in other areas of the body — including the heart.

Cardiomyopathy

When a metal-on-metal hip implant releases large amounts of cobalt into a patient’s bloodstream, it can increase the risk of cardiomyopathy. This condition occurs when the heart muscle gets thicker, less flexible, and less effective at pumping blood. Without treatment, cardiomyopathy can lead to edema (fluid build-up in the body), irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and death.

Several deaths have been directly attributed to cardiomyopathy due to cobalt toxicity from a defective hip implant. A study published in the Bone & Joint Journal described a 46 year-old patient who died of the disease as a result of a cobalt-chromium hip implant.

Heart Attacks

The Archives of Internal Medicine published a study in July 2012 that found the risk of heart attack was significantly higher for patients over 60 years old who had a hip or knee replacement surgery. They found that heart attacks occurred in about 1 in 200 patients within 6 weeks of surgery, which is about 25-times higher the risk for people who do not undergo the surgery.

FDA Warning for Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

At first, it may not make sense how a hip implant could possibly injure an organ like the heart. When a metal-on-metal hip implant begins to fail, toxic particles of cobalt can travel in the bloodstream to many other areas of the body — including the heart.

In a Safety Communication titled “Concerns about Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants,” the FDA warned that metal hip implants have been linked to systemic reactions in many other areas of the body:

  • General hypersensitivity reaction (skin rash)
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart problems)
  • Neurological changes including sensory changes (auditory, or visual impairments)
  • Psychological status change (including depression or cognitive impairment)
  • Renal function impairment
  • Thyroid dysfunction (including neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain or feeling cold)

Other Hip Implant Side Effects

Other studies have linked metal-on-metal hip implants to a wide range of potential side effects, including:

  • Metallosis (metal poisoning)
  • Inflammation or pain in the hip joint
  • Decreased mobility, range of motion, or walking ability
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Bone death
  • Chronic pain
  • Formation of soft-tissue pseudotumors (non-cancerous)
  • Dislocation or loosening of the hip
  • Need for additional surgery to replace defective hip
  • And more

Do I have a Hip Implant Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective hip implant induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured by a severe hip implant side effect, 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.

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