January 20 2010- HOUSTON—If you are one of more than 93,000 people worldwide affected by the recent recall of DuPuy, Inc.’s ASR Hip Replacement System, you may be in more danger than you realize. Countless patients have already come forward with horrific stories of pain and suffering as a result of the defective devices; the most common of which are related to metal poisoning, or metallosis, which is a reaction to the chromium and cobalt metal debris that is shed when components of the device rub together.
If you have experienced symptoms of chromium and cobalt toxicity, which include pain, inflammation, tumors and difficulty walking, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. Specialized blood tests can be used to detect levels of these toxic metals in ASR Hip Replacement patients. In some cases, patients with DePuy ASR implants have been found with 100 times the normal levels chromium and cobalt in their bodies.
One method of treating ASR Hip Replacement patients with high levels of chromium and cobalt in their blood is chelation therapy. The process involves the administration of chelating agents—the most common of which is ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)—to remove the poisonous metals from the body.
Chelating agents may be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or orally, depending on the agent and the type of poisoning. They bind to heavy metals in the body and prevent them from binding to other agents, creating a compound that can then be excreted from the body.
For many patients, intravenous Vitamin C and replacement mineral infusions are also recommended to support the body through the metal removal process. Symptoms will often begin to improve within weeks of commencing treatment, but some may linger, indicating residual organ damage. Therapy may last as long as six months to two years.
At present, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved chelation therapy, though both traditional doctors and alternative medicine practitioners do offer this service. A single chelation treatment usually lasts from two to four hours and costs between $50 and $100. In the first month, patients receive between five and 30 treatments (with 30 being most common), and are often advised to continue preventive treatment once a month.
Individuals must pay for the treatment themselves. Because chelation therapy isn’t a medically accepted procedure, standard medical insurance and Medicare do not cover it. It is believed to be safe for patients of all ages, including children and the elderly, but no scientific data currently exists to support this claim.
Side effects of chelation therapy include a burning sensation at the injection site, fever, a sudden drop in blood pressure, headache, nausea, vomiting, inability to create new blood cells, and mineral deficiencies. Some patients have experienced permanent kidney damage or failure, and deaths have occurred in some chelation studies. Because of the known risks and unknown benefits of chelation therapy, talk to your doctor before trying it as a treatment chromium and cobalt poisoning.
Although a full recovery from chromium and cobalt toxicity is possible with early detection and removal of the defective DePuy ASR implant, many people suffer the effects of metallosis for extended periods. Some of the damage, for instance to the liver or brain, may not be fully reversible, and many find that their food intolerances are never completely remedied. Unfortunately for those affected, only time will tell.