If you have kidney failure, your life literally depends on dialysis treatments. But unfortunately, some of the most common dialysis treatments have led to deadly heart attacks. If you or someone you love suffered a heart attack after getting dialysis treatments at a Frensenius dialysis clinic, we want to help you. You may be able to recover money that will help you pay for your costs and put your life back together.
John Foy and associates is one of the most well-respected personal injury firms in the country, and we aren’t afraid to take on big medical companies that make and sell dangerous products. From our beginnings as a small law office, our focus has always been on helping people who have been injured through no fault of their own. We’d like to give you a free consultation to find out what happened to you and tell you if you have a claim. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is Fresenius Dialysis?
Fresenius Medical Care is the world’s largest dialysis company, owning thousands of dialysis clinics and manufacturing most of the products used during dialysis treatments, such as machines, blood lines, needles, dialyzers and dialysis concentrate. Two of its products, Granuflo and NaturaLyte, have been linked to sudden death, heart attacks and other serious side effects.
Granuflo and NaturalLyte are used in hemodialysis, in which a dialysis machine and an artificial kidney filter your blood, removing waste and excess fluid and chemicals. The filter, also known as a dialyzer, has a section for blood and a section for a washing fluid known as dialysate. There is a membrane between these two sections. Waste products and surplus fluid pass through the membrane and are filtered out, while blood cells and other important components of blood are too big to pass through the filter and remain in the blood section.
Doctors then use chemicals to balance the blood’s acid and alkaline levels before the blood is returned to the body. That’s where Granuflo and NaturalLyte come in. While most balancing solutions mainly contain acetic acid, Granuflo and NaturaLyte also contain a chemical that converts into bicarbonate inside the patient’s body.
This can cause the patient’s bicarbonate levels to rise higher than they should. If not carefully monitored, these high bicarbonate levels can lead to metabolic alkalosis, a severe condition linked to heart attacks, cardiac arrest, and death.
Do the Fresenius products really cause heart attacks?
Yes, but Fresenius has tried to cover it up. In 2011, Fresenius sent an internal memo to the doctors at its dialysis clinics. In the memo, the company warned that patients could suffer a heart attack if GranuFlo or NaturaLyte were not administered properly. In fact, it said 941 patients had heart attacks at Fresenius clinics in 2010. The risk was about 6-8 times greater for patients who already had high bicarbonate levels.
The imbalance of bicarbonates causes a heart attack by interfering with the heart’s electrical currents. When the heart doesn’t get the proper electrical signals, the lower chambers of the heart begin to flutter instead of pumping blood the way they are supposed to. When the heart doesn’t pump, it can’t supply the body with blood. Frighteningly, many of these heart attacks do not show any symptoms beforehand.
Fresenius only sent this critical information to its own doctors – it did nothing to warn the public and the rest of its medical community. It only issued a broader warning several months later, after an inquiry by the Food and Drug Administration. Because of the serious dangers, in 2012 the FDA issued a class 1 recall for both products. This is the most severe warning possible, reserved for products that could be fatal or cause serious health consequences.
Is the risk greater for some people than others?
The risk is greatest for people who already have a condition that is linked to high bicarbonate levels. These conditions include:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD
- Other lung diseases
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- Conn’s Syndrome
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Hormone conditions
What are the signs and symptoms of metabolic alkalosis?
Metabolic alkalosis caused by dialysis may be a precursor to a heart attack or cardiac arrest, and a patient may show symptoms before the heart attack occurs. These symptoms may include:
- Slower breathing
- A sudden drop in blood pressure
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Turning blue or purple
- Tremors in the hands
- Tingling or numbness in the hands, face or feet
Do I have a claim?
Fresenius products are used at just about every dialysis center in the country, not just the ones operated by Fresenius. And NaturaLyte and GranuFlo have not been taken off the market because of the recall – though the manufacturer must now do a better job of warning all doctors. If you have undergone dialysis treatment and suffered a heart attack, it may have been caused by NaturaLyte or GranuFlo, even if you weren’t being treated at a Fresenius dialysis center.
There’s no question that these drugs were dangerous – and that the manufacturer knew they weren’t safe. But in order to recover money, we will have to prove that they caused your or your loved one’s heart attack. Experienced lawyers like the ones at John Foy & Associates know how to build a case against big, profitable medical companies like Fresenius and get you the money you are legally entitled to.
Talk to a Fresenius Dialysis Heart Attack Lawsuit Lawyer
Fresenius made a dangerous product and tried to cover up the risks. That’s unacceptable, and we want to hold them accountable for the damage they’ve caused. If you have undergone dialysis treatment and suffered a heart attack, we’d like to hear about it. We handle all claims on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay us anything unless we can get money for you. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.