Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What is Heavy Metal Poisoning?


As we try to describe the reasons the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System present such a danger to your health, we occasionally use terms you may be only vaguely familiar with. This is an ongoing series of articles on the medical terms related to the DePuy hip recall and hip revision surgeries.

Heavy metal poisoning, by its strictest definition, is simply the build-up of heavy metals in the soft tissues of the body. It is also referred to as heavy metal toxicity. The most common heavy metals associated with poisoning are lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium; the ones that are in the structure of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip implant are chromium and cobalt.

One doctor who analyzed several patients who were tested for metal poisoning said that these were some of the highest levels for chromium and cobalt ions he has ever seen. Despite this, he also said that many of the patients had no symptoms, which makes for a very good argument that any patients who received an ASR XL Acetabular System should be monitored closely and receive regular blood tests.

For any kind of heavy metal poisoning, the symptoms largely revolve around the digestive system: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain, for example. Patients may also have headaches or get a metallic taste in their mouths. In extreme cases, heavy metal poisoning may make patients lose cognitive, motor, and language function.

Chromium and cobalt have also both been linked to cancer. One study recommended that human beings should not have more than 1 part per million of cobalt or chromium in the bloodstream many patients with the ASR XL Acetabular System have exceeded 7 parts per million.

The standard treatment for metal poisoning is chelation therapy; however, this process does not reverse any neurological damage done.

It is essential, if you have a DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System, to get tested for heavy metal poisoning, particularly your cobalt and chromium levels.

Recommended Readings:

Hip Implant Risks May Include Premature Failure

How the ASR XL Acetabular System is Constructed

DePuy Asks Hip Implant Patients to Sign Away Their Legal Rights

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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