More Than 50,000 People With ‘Metal-on-Metal’ Hip Replacements Urged to Have Tests Due to Toxic Fears

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June 30, 2017

More than 50,000 people with “metal-on-metal” hip replacements are being told to have blood tests and x-rays after regulators discovered they are more toxic than previously thought.

A safety alert issued by a UK government body is asking everyone with the devices to have checks and tests.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued the warning, which means around 56,000 patients are being asked to have a number of tests to see if they are suffering blood poisoning or suffering from muscle or bone damage.

Dr. Neil McGuire, MHRA’s Clinical Director of Medical Devices, said: “We have updated the current advice to ensure patients with metal-on-metal hip implants continue to receive appropriate follow-up to detect emerging complications should they arise.”

“Hip implants have positively transformed the lives of many patients who in the past were subject to increasingly severe pain and progressive disability. These use a variety of metal, plastic and ceramic components.”

“Although the majority of patients with these metal-on-metal devices have well-functioning hips, it is known some may develop soft tissue reactions related to their implant.

“The clinical advice we have received indicates patients will likely have the best outcomes if these problems are detected early, monitored and treated if necessary.”

“If people have any questions about their hip replacement they should speak with their general practitioner or implanting surgeon.”

Concerns have already been raised about the risks of the devices, with guidance previously issued by the same body to monitor the “the potential for the already well-known risks of soft-tissue reactions.”

The latest advice replaces that guidance issued in 2012.

MHRA’s experts said they have observed that soft tissue can die in both patients showing symptoms and those not, and believe that early detection is the best response.

Health is a devolved issue in Wales and is the responsibility of the Welsh government although a number of Welsh people are likely to be affected.

MHRA said that the majority of patients with metal-on-metal replacements have well-functioning hips, although some patients will develop “progressive soft tissue” reactions due to wear debris.

Original headline: More than 50,000 people with ‘metal on metal’ hip replacements told to have tests due to toxic fears; People are being told to have blood tests and x-rays after regulators discovered the hip replacements are more toxic than previously thought

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