A little bit of cobalt is a good thing. Cobalt is a component of vitamin B-12, an essential nutrient that is involved in the formation of blood cells. However, too much cobalt can be dangerous.
Normal levels of cobalt range from 0.3 to 1 microgram per liter of blood. Five micrograms of cobalt per liter of blood is considered abnormal. Cobalt poisoning occurs when there is 25 or more micrograms cobalt per liter of blood. Recipients of DePuy ASR Acetabular hip replacement systems have been known to have cobalt levels well over 100 micrograms per liter and even as high as 500 micrograms per liter.
How does this happen? What are the effects?
DePuy ASR Acetabular hip implants are metal-on-metal implants. This means all the components are made of a chromium-cobalt alloy. Because of a design defect, the parts can grind together releasing a metal dust into the body. Over time, chromium and cobalt build up in the blood.
Initial symptoms may include hip pain, dying tissue and masses under the skin, but as the cobalt levels increase, the victim will begin to suffer more serious effects. Over time, cobalt can affect the heart, the blood, the nerves, the thyroid, and the brain. The patient may show a decline in cognitive function and he may lose sight or hearing. As levels increase, he could suffer seizures, heart failure, liver damage and eventually death. Cobalt poisoning is also linked to cancer.
If you have a DePuy ASR Acetabular hip implant, ask your doctor to monitor your blood cobalt levels. Many doctors are unaware of the cobalt poisoning risk.
If you'd like information about DePuy hip implant lawsuits, contact the Wisconsin personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678. The consultation is free.