A recent report issued by the National Joint Registry for England and Wales cites an increase in failure rates of all-metal artificial hip devices, according to a recent article published by the New York Times. The report states that a version of the Johnson & Johnson ASR all-metal hip device sold in Britain has failed in approximately one-third of the 2,100 patients followed by the joint registry in the past six years. Approximately 17% of the individuals in this same group have experienced device failure at the five-year mark. These alarming failure rates have strong implications for U.S. patients implanted with the similar ASR metal hip device.
The British registry further reports that all-metal hip devices in general have a higher rate of early failure when compared to other types of hip devices manufactured with a combination of different materials (such as metal and plastic). In the past year, the U.S. has further scrutinized all-metal hip implants. The FDA, in particular, has required all-metal hip implant device manufacturers to conduct studies examining the increased failure rates in this type of hip implant.
According to the British report, the release of chromium and cobalt particles into the blood is one of the causes of the increase in early failure rates of all-metal hip devices. The wear associated with metal hip devices as time passes causes the release of these particles into the body. Although the release of metal into the body may not be life threatening, it has the potential to cause injuries that can further debilitate the hip patient.
See the full New York Times article at:
National Joint Registry, 8th Annual Report 2011: