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AAOS: Hip Implants Transmit Metal Ions During Pregnancy

Elevated levels of cobalt and chromium seen in infants of mothers with metal-on-metal implants

WEDNESDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of metal ions are elevated in children born to women who have undergone metal-on-metal hip replacement, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from March 9 to 13 in New Orleans.

Joshua J. Jacobs, M.D., of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues analyzed maternal and umbilical cord blood from three patients with metal-on-metal implants and from seven control patients.

Compared to controls, the researchers found that levels of chromium and cobalt were significantly higher in patients with metal-on-metal implants and their infants, and that the levels in maternal and umbilical blood were correlated. Compared to maternal blood, they found that umbilical cord blood contained significantly lower levels of cobalt and chromium (about 50 and 15 percent, respectively), suggesting that the placenta provides some protection against metal ion transmission.

"We don't know whether metal ions pose any health risks for pregnant women and their babies, but as metal-on-metal implants increase in popularity and use, especially among young, active patients, women of child-bearing age and their doctors need to be aware of these findings when considering options for hip replacements," Jacobs said in a statement.

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