DePuy ASR Hip Implants, Other Metal-on-Metal Devices, Failing at a Faster Rate, British Registry Reports

There’s more bad news for recipients of <"">metal-on-metal hip implants today. According to a new report from Britain, all-metal hip implants are failing much faster compared to devices made from other materials. The same British report also found that women face the highest risk of metal-on-metal hip implant failure.

All-metal hip implants include <"">DePuy Orthopaedic’s ASR hip implant, which was recalled in August 2010 because of a higher-than-expected early failure rate. As we’ve reported previously, it is believed that metal-on-metal hip implants can shed dangerous amounts of cobalt and chromium through wear, leading to tissue damage, premature device failure, the need for revision surgery, and even long-term health problems. While this may cause some all-metal hip implant recipients to suffer pain, rashes, and inflammation, some suffer no symptoms at all.

According to The New York Times, before they became the subject of safety concerns, metal-on-metal hip implants accounted for nearly one-third of the estimated 250,000 replacements performed each year. According to one estimate, some 500,000 patients have received an all-metal replacement hip.

According to the British report, which drew data from the National Joint Registry for England and Wales, the DePuy ASR hip implant had failed in an estimated one-third of the patients who the registry followed for the longest time. The registry is following 2,100 ASR patients who received the implant in traditional hip replacement surgery, which according to the Times, is the same way the device was used in the U.S. The registry found that 29 percent of those who received the implant six years ago experienced failure, while 17 percent who received the ASR five years ago had failures.

While the ASR had the highest rate of failure, the same registry found that other all-metal hip implants were also failing at higher rate than expected. Artificial hips should last around fifteen years, but it seems many all-metal varieties are failing within just a few years of implantation. While all of the non-metal prostheses types reported a less than 1percent increase in revision rates, the metal-on-metal group climbed 4.11 percent. Even when the ASR is excluded, the British registry found that the failure rats for metal-on-metal hip implants as a group is accelerating faster than for traditional hip replacements, the Times said.

The registry also found that women were experiencing the highest rates of metal-on-metal hip implant failure. At five years, revision rates for a 60-69-year old female was 7.34 percent for traditional hip replacement with metal-on-metal devices. Meanwhile, the same statistics for men with all-metal devices came in 5.48 percent, the report said.

Non-metal-on-metal five-year revision rates for females aged 60-69 range from 2.02% to 3.19 percent, the registry found.

As we reported previously, it appears that all-metal hips may also be failing at alarming rates in this country. In another article published in August, The New York Times reported that since January, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) received around 5,000 adverse event reports related to all-metal hip replacements, more than it received in the previous four years combined. Three quarters of those complaints involved the DePuy ASR hip implant, while many other complaints involved the Zimmer’s Durom cup, and the all-metal version of DePuy’s Pinnacle implant. Most of the adverse event reports came from people who have undergone, or will require, revision surgery because of complications they suffered just a few years after receiving their all-metal implants.

In that article, the Times reported that some experts fear all-metal hip implants could become one of the biggest and most costly medical implant problems in recent history.

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