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While Medtronic recalled its heart defribrillator wires, reports are circulating that St. Jude defibrillator wires can puncture holes in the hearts of cardiac patients.

St. Jude’s line of Riata defibrillators contain wires that connect the defibrillators to a patient’s heart, and when properly operating, are affixed to the heart wall and transmit an electric shock if the device senses a problem with the heart’s rhythm. However, there are now reports that instead of staying attached to the heart, the “leads” can poke holes in the patients’ heart. Instead, therefore, of sensing improper heart rhythms, the patient can die from the underlying medical condition, or the heart bleeds into the sac surrounding the heart, causing a deadly condition called “cardiac tamponade.”

St. Jude and the FDA have received reports of perforations in four cases, and in one case, the tip of the lead was within 7 millimeters of the surface of the skin.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.

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