HOSPITAL tests carried out on more than 13,000 men for possible prostate cancer are being re-checked amid fears they received the wrong result.
The review is underway in Connolly Hospital in Dublin and Mayo General Hospital after the men had blood tests for a chemical to see if their prostate gland was potentially enlarged or cancerous.
The re-check was ordered after an international recall of a faulty Siemen's testing kit which measures if elevated levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) are present in the blood.
The faulty kit, recalled in July, could have given a reading which was 20pc to 23pc higher than similar tests, resulting in the patient undergoing an unnecessary biopsy.
A spokewoman for Connolly Hospital said the kits were used on 2,186 patients between February and June. Of these, 162 received a result which "may have indicated a need for further investigation," she said.
Five have so far had biopsies and three were found to have prostate cancer of varying degrees.
A spokesman for Mayo General Hospital said it used the kits between July 6, 2012 and June 25, 2013. As a precautionary step, the hospital will review all 12,866 tests carried out during that time.
The review will try to establish how many had an elevated reading to determine if any further actions are necessary, he added. Both hospitals defended their handling of the issue despite question marks over why they had not acted sooner to alert patients.
Connolly Hospital said on July 1 last, it wrote to all GPs and urologists informing them of the recall. The letter included each GP's individual patients' results and advised re-testing was available if required.
"GPs and specialists were then in a position to inform patients and make a clinical decision on a need for follow-up. Following this correspondence, four contacts were made for additional re-testing," she said.
"This incident, which is outside HSE control, is considered to be of low clinical risk in relation to long-term negative outcome for patients," she added.
Mayo General Hospital said since June 26 it "attached a comment to all new PSA results informing doctors a new method was now being used" and alerted them to the chance of a higher than normal result.
"In addition Mayo General Hospital is in the process of contacting all doctors who requested this test during those dates, advising about field notice and offering to re-test any patients," he said.