Medtronic is “recalling” its latest heart defibrillator models because of faulty wiring, which could lead to either it not working when you most need it, or it shocking you randomly in the heart with painful electric jolts. “The company is urging all of the roughly 235,000 patients with the lead, known as the Sprint Fidelis, to see their doctors to make sure it has not developed a fracture that can make the device misread heart-rhythm data.”
If you’ve had a defibrillator put in since 2004 and it was a Medtronic model, odds are it’s using the Fidelis lead. Unfortunately, replacing the lead is no easy task, but the odds your implant is a bum one is fairly small: as of right now Medtronic estimates “that about 2.3 percent of patients with the Fidelis lead, or 4,000 to 5,000 people, would experience a lead fracture within 30 months of implantation.”
Vice President Dick Cheney has a Medtronic heart implant, but according to the article, his is an earlier model and therefore cannot explain his grimaces.
“Patients Warned as Maker Halts Sale of Heart Implant Part” [New York Times]