St. Jude Medical's Frayed Heart Wires May Have More Risky Defects

Published: Mar 26, 2012

Recalled St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ) wires, still in use to connect life-saving defibrillators to the hearts of 79,000 patients, had multiple defects that led to melted conductors, electrical abnormalities and shocks, a study found. St. Jude stopped selling its Riata wires in December, 2010, and recalled them last year on reports they could break through their insulation. Surgery to remove the leads may present higher risks than keeping them in, U.S. regulators have said. A study of 105 reports on failed wires found that two- thirds had multiple defects, often up and down their length. The wires can produce noise, like static on a television set, which may result in unnecessary shocks or reduce the energy needed to stimulate the heart, according to the study reported today at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.

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