Battery Problems in St. Jude Medical Defibrillators

From the WebMD Archives

Oct. 11, 2016 -- The batteries on thousands of implantable heart defibrillators made by St. Jude Medical Inc. can suddenly and unexpectedly run out of power, the company said in letters sent to patients and doctors on Tuesday.

That could put patients in danger if they need a shock from the device to restart a faltering heart, Bloomberg News reported.

St. Jude said premature battery depletion has occurred in less than 1 percent of the company's defibrillators, but two people died after such failures and 47 others experienced dizziness or fainting.

The warning applies to defibrillators made before May 2015, which are in about 350,000 people worldwide, Bloomberg reported.

"We are recommending that patients utilize remote monitoring, to enable their physicians to monitor their devices' performance over time," Mark Carlson, chief medical officer at St. Jude's, said.

"Physicians and patients can take specific measures to mitigate the risk, albeit small, that this can impact their health," he told Bloomberg.