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Saturday, August 28, 2010
YOUNGER and more active people are those more likely to have received the artificial hip replacement system found to have a higher failure rate, it emerged yesterday.
Orthopaedic surgeon Mr David Moore said the DePuy ASR Hip System was used by specialists to save more bone because the normal lifetime of a hip replacement was between 20 to 25 years.
Mr Moore said any young person who had a hip replacement would need more surgery during their lifetime because the system used would, in any event, wear out.
"It is still a full hip replacement but less bone is taken away. So in the future when it has to be revised there is more bone to work with," he pointed out.
New information on the implants shows that about one in eight patients in Britain who received the implants needed revision surgery within five years. Mr Moore, who is president of the Irish Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, described the failure rate as "extremely high". He said hip replacements were generally highly reliable.
However, he was concerned that people who received the ASR hip replacement system would be afraid that it would fail when, in fact, most would continue to work well.
Mr Moore, who is based at Tallaght Hospital, suspected that only a small number of patients would experience problems.
"Very few orthopaedic surgeons carry out a hip replacement procedure using an ASR prosthesis that has only been available around six years."
Mr Moore, who has criticised the absence of a national joint replacement registrar, said he, like a lot of orthopaedic surgeons, had never used the ASR devices found to malfunction in some patients.
"Every hip or joint replacement should be recorded on a national database so we can have the information at the touch of a button," he said.
The Health Service Executive’s national director of quality and clinical care Dr Barry White said not all patients who had the ASR hip system fitted would need to have them replaced. Dr White said action would be taken to ensure that all of the devices were recalled.
Measures would also be taken to identify patients fitted with the devices and to have them assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon.
He said patients could contact their orthopaedic surgeon but there would also be a helpline that they could use to get all the information that was available. A process would also be established so that all the patients could be contacted.
Fine Gael’s spokeswoman on older citizens Catherine Byrne called on the Minister for Health and the HSE to clarify why the faulty implant was not recalled sooner.
"Complaints concerning two types of faulty hip implants were made to the Department of Food and Drug Administration in the US over two years ago, so why has the HSE only become aware of the problem this week," she asked.
"The HSE needs to act immediately to calm the fears of patients who may have received this particular implant and to clarify whether or not they will require further surgery," she said.
- The HSE information line is 1850 24 1850.
- Arthritis Ireland’s helpline is 1890 252 846.
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