Implanted defibrillators fault
In February 2005 Medtronic, another US based company, issued a public statement regarding its implanted defibrillators which can fail suddenly. Implantable defibrillators are a life saving device, used in the treatment of irregular heart rhythms, commonly known as arrhythmia. They work by monitoring the heart rate, sending electrical signals to the heart if it begins to beat too fast or too slow.
In 87000 devices worldwide, a battery defect resulting from damage during the manufacturing process has been detected. If the defect is present, rapid battery depletion may follow. This loss of power may occur without the knowledge of the subject, and at any time, even within the manufacturer's recommended follow up period. Complete loss of battery function can occur within a few hours. Battery failure in this way means the devices are unable to deliver the electrical jot that is needed if the user develops a potentially life threatening arrhythmia.
The batteries carrying the defect were manufactured between April 2001 and December 2003. Medtronic believe the overall risk of battery depletion is low and expect only 1 in 10 000 batteries will be affected. The MHRA has said that there are potentially 805 devices in the UK, with approximately 791 implanted and in use. So far, there have been no reports of injury or death as a result of the defect.
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