Surgery deaths linked to hip replacement cement
According to a study by top patient safety experts, a cement which is used during thousands of hip replacements every year has been linked to deaths during the surgery, with the use of cement being linked to a minimum of 41 fatalities since 2005 in England and Wales.
A rare reaction, named bone cement implantation syndrome (BCIS) disrupts circulation in the hip joint and causes blood pressure to drop, potentially stopping the heart. 62 cases of this reaction occurred between 2005 and 2012.
The authors of the study, which included former chief medical officer Professor Liam Donaldson, have said that, although the overall risk is low, it is significant enough for surgeons to “take account of it”, especially given the increasing number of patients undergoing hip replacements annually.
Professor Donaldson has said that should now lead to a review of the use of cement to establish whether the risks outweighed the benefits.
“The National Patient Safety Agency issued an alert (about BCIS) in 2009” he said. “At that point it seems the orthopaedic surgical community weren’t convinced of the risk, or believed the benefits outweighed the risk. My view is that you can’t condemn the use of cement, but the jury is out. This needs to be kept under review.”
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Posted by Tony May, Partner/head of Clinical Negligence Department, Chadwick Lawrence LLP (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Medical negligence lawyers and clinical negligence solicitors in Huddersfield, Leeds, Wakefield and Halifax, West Yorkshire.
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