Cobalt-induced cardiomyopathy - do circulating cobalt levels matter?

Mark R. J. Jenkinson, Dominic R. M. Meek, Rothwelle Tate, Sandy MacMillan, M. Helen Grant, Susan Currie

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Elevated levels of circulating cobalt ions have been linked with a wide range of systemic complications including neurological, endocrine and cardiovascular symptoms. Case reports of patients with elevated blood cobalt ions have described significant cardiovascular complications including cardiomyopathy. However, correlation between the actual level of circulating cobalt and extent of cardiovascular injury has not previously been performed. This review examines evidence from the literature for a link between elevated blood cobalt levels secondary to metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasties and cardiomyopathy. Correlation between low, moderate and high blood cobalt with cardiovascular complications has been considered.

Elevated blood cobalt at levels over 250µg/l have been shown to be a risk factor for developing systemic complications and published case reports document cardiomyopathy, cardiac transplantation and death in patients with severely elevated blood cobalt ions. However, it is not clear that there is a hard cut off value and cardiac dysfunction may occur at lower levels. Clinical and laboratory research has found conflicting evidence of cobalt induced cardiomyopathy in patients with MoM hips. Further work needs to be done to clarify the link between severely elevated blood cobalt ions and cardiomyopathy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340–347
Number of pages8
JournalBone and Joint Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021


  • cobalt
  • cardiomyopathy
  • metal-on-metal
  • hip
  • arthroplasty


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