About Pain Pump Delivery of Bupivacaine with Epinephrine (Marcaine)
Recent studies have identified pain pumps, also known as intra-articular pumps or pain balls, as the likely cause of Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL). Research also shows that drugs used in those pumps, including bupivacaine and epinephrine, may have played a role in the development of that permanent and painful condition.
PAGCL is a medical condition characterized by a postoperative loss of cartilage in the shoulder, leading to intense pain and permanent joint damage.
Symptoms of PAGCL include:
- Pain in the shoulder when it is in motion or at rest increased shoulder stiffness
- Popping, grinding, or clicking when the shoulder is in motion; decrease in the range of motion
- A loss of strength in the joint.
PAGCL is usually diagnosed with an X-ray showing the narrowing of the shoulder joint space. About half of all patients who developed PAGCL after using a pain pump have had to undergo shoulder replacement surgery.
Pain pumps used after arthroscopic joint surgery delivered controlled doses of medication to the joint. The most common pain medication used with a pain pump is the drug bupivacaine with epinephrine (Marcaine).
Bupivacaine is a local anesthetic, or numbing medicine, that blocks the generation and conduction of nerve impulses, preventing pain or making pain easier to control. Bupivacaine is sometimes co-administered with epinephrine to prolong the duration of its action.
A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine reported intra-articular pain pump catheters, used with a combination of bupivacaine and epinephrine, "appear highly associated with postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis." The federal Food and Drug Administration in a November 2009 warning stated: "The infused local anesthetic drugs, the device materials, and/or other sources may have resulted in the development of chondrolysis." The research study and the warning issued by the FDA came too late for joint surgery patients harmed by the improper use of pain pumps with anesthetics such as bupivacaine and epinephrine.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a shoulder pain pump, or has the symptoms or diagnosis of PAGCL, you have legal rights that deserve protection. The MedLaw Legal Team of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC has handled difficult product liability cases and our lawyers are well-equipped to recover compensation for your injuries. We offer a hands-on approach to carefully investigate all of the evidence, including a thorough review of your medical charts and hospital records. Please contact the MedLaw Legal Team of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC by filling out the contact form or calling us at 1-888-4-MED-LAW for a free evaluation of your case.