An investigation carried out by the BBC´s Newsnight programme and the British Medical Journal has made DePuy Pinnacle injury claims similar to those which led to the DePuy ASR hip replacement recall of August 2010.
The investigation alleges that high levels of cobalt and chromium are entering the blood streams of patients who have had the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implanted, causing the hip replacements to fail as bone decay, tissue necrosis and inflammation make the metal-on-metal hip implant system unstable. The blood contamination, or “system toxicity”, is caused by debris produced by the friction within the ball and cup of the implant forming a mass around the hip implant or dispersing into the blood.
Injuries that patients implanted with the Pinnacle hip replacement system have encountered include:-
Inflammations, pains and rashes around the hip area
Grinding, clicking or popping sounds coming from implant
Pains in the thigh or groin – especially when bearing heavy loads
Pains in the hip area when rising from a seated position
The development of cysts anywhere around the body
The DePuy Pinnacle injury claims made by the BBC and British Medical Journal are supported by evidence collected from UK hospitals and clinics in America, which shown chromium levels in the blood of up to 50 times the normal amount – a particular concern for women of child-bearing age who have received metal-on-metal hip implants, as high levels of metal ions had been found in umbilical cords and the placental blood of women who have given birth.
The investigation did not stop with DePuy Pinnacle injury claims. All metal-on-metal hip replacement systems were identified as being potentially harmful, and the BBC/British Medical Journal report particularly condemned the UK medical regulator – The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – for allowing faulty hip replacements into the market without any form of clinical trials.
It was alleged that data had been available since 2005 which should have alerted the MHRA to the potential dangers of metal-on-metal hip replacements, and that the MHRA had failed in its duty of care to 60,000 recipients of metal-on-metal hip implants as the agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices work and are acceptably safe.
NOTE: If you, or anybody you know, have been the recipient of a metal-on-metal hip replacement system, the advice currently being issued by the Irish Medicines Board is to have an annual blood test and x-ray and, if high levels of chromium or cobalt are present in the blood, to have an MRI scan. Patients who wish to know more about DePuy Pinnacle injury claims for compensation should speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.