Kidney Problems Related to Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
Kidney Failure and Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
Renal insufficiency, or kidney failure, happens when your kidneys stop functioning properly. The kidneys are responsible for removing waste from our blood, regulating our blood pressure, and other important processes as well.
According to the FDA, metal-on-metal hip implants are linked to kidney problems. Metal surfaces from the hip cup and ball rub together and shed microscopic cobalt and chromium particles into the blood. Those tiny metal ions cause the kidneys to work harder to filter the blood and can damage the kidneys.
What is a “Systemic Effect” from Metal on Metal Hip Poisoning?
A systemic effect of metal on metal hips describes health problems that affect the entire body, instead of only the hip joint. Systemic injuries from metal poisoning may appear when your body tries to remove metal ions from the blood, leading to kidney failure or renal insufficiency. In some cases, patients even develop ‘nephrotoxicity,’ or kidney poisoning, from the metal particles.
Making a Legal Case for Metal on Metal Hip Replacements and Kidney Failure
As attorneys litigating these cases, we strongly suspect kidney problems can be caused by the toxic heavy metals released from these hip implants. There is growing scientific and medical research pointing to this. The FDA even links these hip implants to kidney problems.
However, because the science connecting “systemic effects” to metal on metal hips is still fairly new, our ability to make these arguments in court is more difficult.
We do find that hip replacement patients with systemic injuries, like kidney failure, often have physical damage to their hip joint and surrounding muscle. That damage can go undetected for years with no symptoms like pain or swelling in the hip area.
Sometimes the first symptom of a metal on metal hip problem is a reaction in distant parts of the body, like the kidneys.
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Health Complications from Renal Insufficiency
According to the Mayo Clinic, if kidney problems from metal poisoning are not treated, they can lead to the development of the following conditions:
- End-Stage Kidney Disease: if acute kidney damage is left untreated, it can worsen over time and lead to permanent renal failure. When individuals develop permanent renal failure, they may require regular dialysis or even a kidney transplant.
- Pain in the Chest: Kidney failure can cause swelling in the lining around the heart, which causes chest pain.
- Build-ups of Liquid in the Lungs
- Shortness of Breath
What are the Symptoms of Renal Insufficiency?
The symptoms of renal insufficiency vary depending on the severity of the kidney damage. While some individuals feel absolutely no symptoms at all, other individuals might experience any of the following signs of kidney failure:
- Shortness of Breath
- Muscle Weakness
- Chest Pain
- Decreased Urination
- Swelling in the Limbs (Due to the Body Retaining More Liquid)
- Chest Pressure
- Feelings of Disorientation
If you have a metal on metal hip implant and suffered from any of the complications or symptoms listed above, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor because your implant may be the cause.
Additionally, you should contact a law firm with experience litigating metal on metal hip replacements because you may be entitled to compensation. Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. has focused its practice on defective hip implant cases for over a decade.
How is Renal Insufficiency Diagnosed?
If you or your doctor suspect that you have renal impairment, there are different ways of testing your kidney function:
- Blood Tests
- Urine Tests
- Measuring the Amount of Urination
- CT Scan
- Kidney Biopsy (removing and testing a sample of your kidney tissue)
Additionally, if your physician suspects that your renal impairment is specifically due to your metal-on-metal hip implant, they may also test metal ion levels in the blood, and getting medical imaging like MRI and ultrasound.