Thousands facing tests over faulty hip replacements
THOUSANDS of Irish people who have had potentially faulty hip replacements since 2004 are expected to be called in for tests over the coming weeks by hospitals all over the country -- but only a minority of those recalled are likely to have to undergo surgery, the HSE said yesterday.
Consultants are expected to check their records and will recall everyone who received the implant, after Johnson and Johnson's joint replacement section, DePuy Orthopaedics, began recalling products that have been used on 93,000 patients around the world.
A joint statement issued by the HSE and Independent Hospital Association of Ireland (IHAI) said that approximately 70,000 hip replacements have taken place in Ireland since July 2003 when this product first became available.
"Approximately five per cent of these will be affected by this recall as figures from the company indicate that 3,516 implants were sold in Ireland.
Figures from the United Kingdom have shown that up to 13 per cent of patients with these implants have had to undergo a revision surgery within five years of their initial operation," it said.
The statement -- which came after a meeting between the HSE and representatives of the Irish Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery (IITOS), the IHAI representing private hospitals, the Irish Medicines Board (IMB), National Treatment Purchase Fund, Arthritis Ireland and other patient groups, and the distributors of DePuy ASR hip replacements in Ireland, PEI -- said that a process had "been agreed across all parties concerned to identify the patients affected".
"Hospitals will be making contact with all affected patients when the protocol for patient review and follow- up has been finalised, which is anticipated to be completed early next week."
It said arrangements were being put in place within hospitals to identify all of the patients who have had this implant as part of their hip replacement and they will be contacting patients in the coming weeks.
"Hospitals are best-placed to answer patients queries as they will be able to check patient records and files. Appropriate supports will be put in place in hospitals in the coming days to ensure that queries are handled in a timely manner."
David Moore, president of IITOS said: "While this issue will undoubtedly cause anxiety for patients who have had hip-replacement surgery, it should be emphasised that the troublesome implant has only been used in a small minority of patients who have undergone hip surgery.
"Furthermore, it is a minority of patients who have had the ASR implant who will need further surgery."
The Irish Medicines Board said it had carefully monitored the product on the Irish marketplace and had been in ongoing discussions with the company.
"The manufacturer confirmed that all stock has been removed from Irish hospitals. Approximately 3,300 patients have received the ASR Hip System in Ireland since it became available in 2004. Twelve incidents have been reported to the IMB to date."
It is understood some of those 12 have been hip replacements carried out in the last three years.
People recalled will mainly have to undergo blood tests and scans, but about 12 per cent of those recalled may need a new implant.