Journal Highlight: Differential distribution of cobalt, chromium, and nickel between whole blood, plasma and urine in patients after metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasty

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  • Published: Sep 3, 2012
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thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Differential distribution of cobalt, chromium, and nickel between whole blood, plasma and urine in patients after metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasty

Differential distribution of cobalt, chromium, and nickel between whole blood, plasma and urine in patients after metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty

Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 2012, 30, 1640-1646
Ashley W. Newton, Lakshminarayan Ranganath, Catherine Armstrong, Viju Peter, Norman B. Roberts

Cobalt, chromium and nickel were measured in the blood, plasma and urine of hip replacements patients by ICPMS to help understand the reasons for poor device outcome. Abstract: Evidence shows that raised cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), and nickel (Ni) whole blood concentrations correlate with poor device outcome in patients following metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasty. To understand the local and systemic pathological effects of these raised metal concentrations it is important to define their distribution between whole blood, plasma, and urine. The metals were measured by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICPMS). Two hundred and five plasma, 199 whole blood, and 24 sets of urine samples were analyzed from 202 patients with Co–Cr alloy MoM hip prostheses implanted between 8 months to 12 years (mean 6.0 years) prior to analysis. Plasma Co (median 39.1 nmol/L) showed significantly positive 1:1 correlation with whole blood Co (median 45.9 nmol/L; R2 = 0.98, p < 0.001, slope = 1.0). Plasma Cr (median 53.8 nmol/L) and whole blood Cr (median 40.3 nmol/L) were also correlated; however, concentrations were significantly higher in plasma indicating relatively little blood cell uptake (R2 = 0.96, p < 0.001, slope = 1.6). Urinary Co was up to threefold higher than Cr (median 334.0 vs. 97.3 nmol/L respectively). Nickel concentrations in whole blood, plasma, and urine were low relative to Co and Cr. The analysis shows fundamental differences in the physiological handling of these metals: Co is distributed approximately equally between blood cells and plasma, whereas Cr is mainly in plasma, despite which, Cr had far less renal excretion than Co.

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