Hip replacement products recalled
Thousands of hip replacement patients could face scans, blood tests or surgery amid fears they were fitted with a faulty product, health bosses have said.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has written to all hospital orthopaedic units advising them to stop using a device produced by US-based firm DePuy Orthopaedics.
The move follows a worldwide recall of two of the company's ASR hip products over concerns about the number of patients requiring revision surgery after they were implanted.
Since it became available in 2004, around 3,500 patients around the country have received the ASR Hip System device as part of a hip replacement procedure. Many are now expected to undergo blood tests, MRI scans and ultrasounds to determine if they require further surgery.
The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) said while most hip replacements involving the ASR product had been successful, 12 incidents had so far been reported from Irish patients.
The HSE said all devices involved in the product recall had now been removed from circulation. Plans are being made to set up a special HSE helpline for concerned patients, while DePuy Orthopaedics has also produced a guide on its website for people who may be affected by the product recall.
Labour health spokeswoman Jan O'Sullivan said the helpline needed to be set up as soon as possible: "There is a lot of anxiety out there and a helpline will provide vital information to people."
Catherine Byrne, Fine Gael spokeswoman on older citizens, called on Health Minister Mary Harney and the HSE to say why the implant was not recalled sooner.
DePuy Orthopaedics president David Floyd said the company was committed to assisting patients and healthcare providers and giving them information through multiple channels.
"We regret that this recall will be concerning for patients, their family members and surgeons," he added.