St. Jude’s Heart Battery Malfunction Leads to Two Deaths

October 11, 2016

St. Jude Medical has issued a warning of the possibility that a battery issue could restrict its high-voltage cardiac rhythm management devices and that the problem has been linked to two deaths.

The device has a risk of the lithium-based batteries used in St. Jude’s implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac rhythm-managment therapy devices could form “lithium clusters” during high-voltage charging. The clusters could then cause a short circuit and deplete the battery, making the device ineffective.

The problem affects ICDs and CRT-Ds made before May 23, 2015, the company said. — Cynthia Jessup

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