Kidney Problems Related to Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
Renal Insufficiency and Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
Renal insufficiency describes the issue when the 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 interference with kidney function. Metal surfaces from the hip cup and ball rub together and shed microscopic cobalt and chromium particals into the blood. High counts of metal ions in the blood can have destructive consequences on the body.
The kidneys may start to malfunction when trying to remove metal ions from the body’s blood, and this leads to kidney, or renal, insufficiency. In some cases, patients even develop ‘nephrotoxicity,’ or kidney poisoning, from the metal particles.
Health Complications of Renal Insufficiency from Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
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
Connections between metal on metal implants and these “systemic effects” are currently being investigated by the medical and scientific community. We, as attorneys litigating these cases, heavily suspect these conditions can be caused by the toxic heavy metals being released from these implants. However, because the science linking these “systemic effects” to metal on metal hips is still fairly new, our ability to make these arguments,in court, is very much in doubt.
This represents yet another danger of metal on metal hip implants: Because they were introduced into the market before the scientific community truly knew how bad the “systemic effects” of these implants were, and because a certain standard of scientific understanding is required before legal arguments can be made, we, as your legal advocates, face the very real possibility that we may not be able to introduce evidence of these effects in your case.
As more time progresses, we hope and expect more research into these areas will be published. Further, we hope that the additional research will help us clear the legal hurdles to link these effects to the metal on metal implants. For the time being, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.
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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 Disorentation
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 from Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants 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’s and Ultrasounds.