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Heart defibrillators not as safe as your doctor says they are: Study shows multiple deaths caused by faulty wires

Thursday, April 05, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: heart defibrillators, deaths, short circuit

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(NaturalNews) Many doctors hail them as miracle devices that can prevent heart patients from dying of cardiac arrest. But heart defibrillators may not be as safe and effective as the medical industry claims they are, as a new study published in the journal Heart Rhythm has found that defects inherent in many of the devices can actually kill patients.

A recent New York Times (NYT) piece explains that at least 22 people have died from heart defibrillators that short circuited, an electrical malfunction that is more common to heart defibrillators than most people probably think. And two particular models of heart defibrillator wiring systems manufactured by St. Jude Medical, Inc. have also been exposed as defective.

According to reports, the Riata and Riata ST wiring systems, which were introduced in 2002 and 2005, respectively, do not operate as intended. Rather than stay inside their silicone casings, these electrical wires, also known as leads, eventually protrude directly into the body, which can cause an electrical short.

Though St. Jude stopped producing these two lead systems back in 2010, hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide currently have heart defibrillators inside their bodies that contain these faulty leads. And because of the very serious dangers involved with trying to remove heart defibrillators, these patients will most likely have to live with these defective devices for the rest of their lives.

According to Dr. Robert Hauser, author of the new study, at least eight hearts patients have died during procedures intended to remove the faulty wires. Many others have suffered serious, but not necessarily fatal, damage as a result of the procedure. And thousands of others could end up developing life-threatening complications down the road as a result of malfunctioning heart defibrillators.

But since the vast majority of medical devices do not even go through proper safety testing prior to receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is hardly surprising that patients are suffering sometimes fatal harm as a result of their malfunction (http://www.naturalnews.com). Until the American people stand up and force the FDA to take medical device approvals seriously, such studies will likely continue to emerge.

"Patients who just had a heart attack, patients who just (had) bypass surgery, patients who were just recently diagnosed with heart failure [...] those patients should not be getting implantable defibrillators," said Dr. Sana Al-Khatib from the Duke Clinical Research Institute recently. "We found patients who received this non-evidence based device were significantly more likely to die, and to have post-procedure complications" (http://www.ketknbc.com/news/defibrillator-dangers).

Sources for this article include:

http://www.nytimes.com

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