A new study published in the online edition of BMJ Open reveals that cement used in hip replacement surgeries could be linked with at least 40 deaths over the last decade.
The study was conducted by researchers led by England's former chief medical officer Professor Liam Donaldson who found that the cement led to a rare allergic reaction among at least 62 patients. Known as bone cement implantation syndrome (BCIS), all of the cases occurred between 2005 and 2012 and has been linked with 41 deaths in England and Wales during that period.
Surgeons use the cement to hold the artificial joints in place and while it has proved to be beneficial to patients in the long run, it is not a crucial factor in hip replacement surgeries and its use in other countries is considerably less compared to Britain.
Stating that surgeons should take into account the risk of reaction, Professor Donaldson said, "The National Patient Safety Agency issued an alert [about BCIS] in 2009. 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."