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DePuy ASR Complications: Heavy Metal Poisoning (Cobalt & Chromium)

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 7.59.43 PM.pngAs lawyers handling claims related to DePuy ASR defects, we have clients who have suffered varying types if injuries related to the defecting hip replacement and resurfacing products.

Some of the most severe injuries are found in clients with metal poisoning from their implants.  In some of these cases, the metals have reached toxic levels that significantly impact all aspects of our clients’ lives and have left them permanently disabled.

Similar to other problems originating from the DePuy hip replacements, the metal poisoning complications are related to a defective metal-on-metal design that sheds tiny shards of the metals due to the friction created when the cup and stem meet.  The metal shards can easily become embedded in the surroundingng tissue, or— in some cases– the metal particles enter the bloodstream and get circulated throughout the body.

Cobalt & Chromium Entering The Body

Cobalt and chromium are two elements used in the DePuy ASR products to for their strength and anti-corrosion properties.  Though not normally found in the body, low levels of Chromium and Cobalt are considered safe.  However, at elevated levels, both Chromium and Cobalt can be toxic and make patients sick.

  • Cobalt Poisoning– Expert consider any blood serum concentration at or above 7 micrograms per milliliter to be dangerous.  Symptoms of Cobalt poisoning may include:
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Neuropathy
    • Kidney failure
    • Thyroid problems
    • Gastrointestinal problems
    • Hemorrhages
    • Optic nerve / vision problems
    • Deafness
  • Chromium Poisoning– While no specific Chromium concentrations have been established regarding ‘dangerous’ levels, experts at the Mayo Clinic Medical Laboratories believe that even low levels are concerning, “blood serum concentrations greater than 1ng/ML in a patient with Cr-based implant suggest significant prosthesis wear.” Symptoms of Chromium poisoning may include:
    • Acute renal failure
    • GI hemorrhage
    • Impaired liver function
    • Increased risk of cancers

Legal Rights For DePuy Patients With Chromium & Cobalt

If you are the recipient of a DePuy ASR product, the only way to diagnose the presence of Chromium poisoning, Cobalt poisoning or metallosis is by regularly conducting blood tests.  Depending on the levels of the metals in the body, doctors may elect to monitor the condition or prescribe more invasive treatment to help reduce further complications.

Nursing Home Law Center LLC understands the dangers related to Chromium poisoning, Cobalt Poisoning or metallosis in DePuy patients.  Our team of DePuy hip defect lawyers can evaluate your claim and fully litigate your case depending on your unique circumstances.


Cobalt Toxicity in Two Hip Replacement Patients (pdf) State of Alaska Epidemiology Bulletin, May 28, 2010

Out of joint: The story of the ASR BMJ 2011; 342:d2905 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2905 (Published 14 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011; 342:d2905

Cobalt Poisoning, Medline Plus

DePuy Hip Replacement Patients: What The Company Doesn’t Want You To Know About Your Legal Rights

In Aftermath Of DePuy Hip Problems, FDA Takes A Closer Look At Metal Hips

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