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Recombinant Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein in Cervical Spine Fusion

Audience: Orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, hospital risk managers, surgical service staff

[Posted 07/02/2008] FDA informed healthcare professionals of reports of life-threatening complications associated with recombinant human Bone Morphogenetic Protein (rhBMP) when used in the cervical spine. The safety and effectiveness of rhBMP in the cervical spine have not been demonstrated and these products are not approved by FDA for this use. There have been at least 38 reports of complications during the last 4 years with the use of rhBMP in cervical spine fusion. These complications were associated with swelling of neck and throat tissue, which resulted in compression of the airway and/or neurological structures in the neck. Some reports describe difficulty swallowing, breathing or speaking. FDA recommends that practitioners either use approved alternative treatments or consider enrolling as investigators in approved clinical studies.

FDA requires hospitals and other user facilities to report deaths and serious injuries associated with the use of medical devices. If you suspect that a reportable adverse event was related to the use of rhBMP, you should follow the reporting procedure established by your facility. Reporting adverse events is everyone’s responsibility, even if the event involves off-label use of medical devices.

[July 01, 2008 - Public Health Notification - FDA]