St. Jude is a company which has forty years of tradition in designing medical devices. However, officials from the company have recently announced that there is something wrong with their heart defibrillators. Battery failure can endanger the life of patients, and two deaths are already related to such incidents.
Heart defibrillators are one of the best-selling products at St. Jude. This is why researchers have been investigating potential problems with the devices. They found that the batteries are not safe with no less than three hundred fifty thousand products, which had already been sold.
The St. Jude devices can be implanted in patients and help them keep a regular rhythm of their hearts. If their heart beats too fast, the device slows it down, and if it beats too slow, it makes the rhythm grow. Officials from the company warn both doctors and patients that they may be using affected devices.
Specialists advise patients not to get alarmed. They say that even if patients might be using affected heart defibrillators, they shouldn’t consider removing them, at least not for the moment. There are also risks about changing the devices, as the experts explain.
Staff members at St. Jude started to look into the problem of heart defibrillators two years ago. Research showed that there is an inconvenience with the batteries which makes them run low instantly. The devices are designed to set an alarm three months before complete discharge. Nevertheless, it seems like the broken devices just set the alarm a day before running low.
The public revealing of the problems comes only after serious studies. Researchers found out that so-called lithium cluster formations are to blame for the heart defibrillators’ failure. They also explain that the formations are most likely to emerge when charging.
Specialists announced that surveys indicate that in only one hospital the risk for patients is 0.6 percent, and some researchers consider it dangerous. They also stated that patients who need lifesaving shocks are the most exposed to the risks brought by the affected heart defibrillators.
Developers at St. Jude Medical made changes on the lithium-based battery last year. The method seemed to have reduced the risk of incidents with heart defibrillators. However, problems have been identified with more than eight hundred devices which have already got to hospitals and patients.
The company announced that it would cover the costs of patients who encountered problems because of heart defibrillators produced by St. Jude. They also invite doctors and patients to find a solution together.
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