Medical Device Registry Gains Some Momentum

Medical devices such as artificial hip implants, knee implants, and other implantable medical devices have experienced a huge growth in use and popularity in the last decade. More patients are receiving some form of implantable medical device than ever before. Yet, in spite of the surge in usage, there is no protocol for tracking or monitoring these devices.
“There is no system for being informed of what the problems are with the products you have in your body. Even your physician may not know,” said Terry Fadem, president of the Biomedical Research and Education Foundation in Philadelphia.
If a problem arises with a particular medical device such as an artificial hip or knee, doctors and industry professionals have know way of knowing who received the devices. This is not an insignificant issue since 2,500 medical devices were recalled in 2008 alone. In 2006, surgeons implanted a million artificial knees and hips. That number is expected to quadruple by 2030.
In the first seven months of 2009, over 1,000 recall notices have been issued for medical devices such as pacemakers, artificial hips, tracheal tubes, and pain pumps. Without a centralized data system like the medical registry, industry officials admit it is very difficult to track the faulty devices and ensure consumer safety.
The new FDA chief, Margaret Hamburg, recognizes the problem and has vowed to make post-market safety a priority during her tenure. Hopefully, that will include a national medical registry for all medical devices so that doctors and industry officials can more easily monitor the devices they implant in patients.