Hole in the ball

Even if the man is combing only the hair or the quiet of sitting at the table, he gets hardly any air. His heart beats irregularly, every movement brings him to the point of exhaustion. The 55-Year-old has, after four months in the hospital and numerous discussions with baffled Doctors little hope.

Actually, it was the contractors always good to heart or circulation problems he had never, and also the repair of a Hip replacement one and a half years earlier, he had survived without any problems. But since some months he is not only weaker every day, and often has fever, he can also be heard less and less, and is almost blind. An ear, nose and throat doctor prescribed the hearing aid, an ophthalmologist operated on the cataract in one eye. Has helped him both.


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    The Dr. House of Marburg

    Due to the poor function of the heart medical professionals a contrast agent injection via a catheter, to assess the coronary vessels. However, the arteries are open, calcifications can cause ailments so. To attempt therapy with drugs that suppress the immune system, brings no improvement, you worsen the condition of the man even more. When the Patient presents in may 2012 in the Department of cardiology of the University hospital Marburg, pumping his heart, only a quarter of the normal amount of blood. The question of Transplantation is in the room, because the heart is inexorably weaker.

    However, in Marburg, the man finally meets the right doctor with the right idea: Jürgen Schäfer is not only a heart specialist with a penchant for complicated cases. The cardiologist is in charge of the 2013 founded the center for unrecognized diseases and for the medical students of the Marburg University clinic Lectures on interesting cases from the TV series “Dr. House”.

    Schaefer recalls a sequence in which it comes to a patient with similar complaints and has a suspected diagnosis: cobalt poisoning.

    The metal is life for the people in extremely small quantities is important, because it is a component of Vitamin B12, the nerves and blood cells. In high doses, it is however dangerous: a specific heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy triggers it, damaged eyes, ears, kidneys, lungs and skin, and inhibits the function of the thyroid gland.

    Poison in the beer

    Of a poisoning for a long time were affected mainly industrial workers, who had been working with cobalt products. In the sixties, some of the men also developed in Quebec a cardiomyopathy and died from it. All of them had a lot to drink draught beer, local beer cobalt Breweries were added as in the other, in order to stabilize the beer foam in the glass. After the canadian Breweries had reduced the cobalt, there were no deaths.

    In the past few years, other cases of cobalt piling up in Germany, but poisoning: they are caused by defective hip prostheses. So also in the case of the Marburg patients, such as the Schaefer and his colleagues in the journal “The Lancet” reports. He had to get in the year 2001, a hip Prosthesis made of ceramic and was overthrown in 2010, whereby the prosthesis broke. The following Operation surgeon with a purge, trying to remove all the splinters from the joint. “Then you have used in a fatal way, but no ceramic prosthesis, but one of the metals cobalt, chromium and molybdenum,” says shepherd to MIRROR ONLINE.

    The Problem: Despite a thorough flushing of small Ceramic fragments mostly left. You pound the metal, cobalt comes out, goes into the blood and attacks the body’s organs. For the repair of a ceramic prosthesis heads made of metal are according to the manufacturer, not approved.

    “The Shocking thing is: This happens again and again”

    Actually, the cobalt values of the patient are extremely high. 15 Nanomol per Liter of blood are normal, in it, you are at 15,000. The Doctors give him the antidote, which forms with the metal Complex that can be excreted by the body via the kidneys. Also have the broken metal prosthesis is expanded immediately, and by a ceramic prosthesis is replaced. Besides, the man needs for his weak heart, a pacemaker with a built-in Defibrillator.

    Also, the “New England Journal of Medicine” reported that currently, about a woman who needed to be due to cobalt poisoning due to a broken prosthesis, and even a new heart. “Such errors are immeasurable damage,” says Schaefer. Alone at the University hospital in Marburg had been in the past years, five cases of cobalt poisoning by hip replacement. “The Shocking thing is: This happens again and again,” complains shepherd. “Each scooter is in Germany better than dentures.” Stricter controls for medical products, especially after the scandal over faulty breast is arguing implants again and again violently.

    The Patient can fortunately participate better in everyday life. His heart manages to at least back up to 40% of the normal performance. “Last week, he was here in the clinic,” says Schaefer. “He’s somewhat better, but he is still very seriously ill and his Eyesight and hearing greatly impaired. The long-term damage that is not foreseeable.”