St. Jude Medical Inc.’s Riata defibrillator leads, which the company stopped selling last year, were recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of their potential to injure or kill patients.
The devices remain implanted in an estimated 79,000 U.S. patients. The company voluntarily sent a letter to doctors on November 28 informing them that the wires used to connect the devices to the heart have a higher failure rate than was previously known.
According to the company, the FDA issued the Class 1 recall, its most serious designation, because of its potential risk of serious injury or patient death.
The company acknowledged that the wires inside some leads can penetrate the insulation, compromising the device’s integrity. The devices may inappropriately shock some patients and fail to deliver necessary therapy to others.
This potential for device failure, particular for defibrillators or for folks dependent on pacemakers, is worrisome.
Patients who need frequent shocks from their defibrillator to restore a normal heart rhythm and those who are dependent on pacemakers may be at greater risk, the company said. Doctors may design individual treatment plans for those with the damaged wires based on their risk level and options should be discussed with patients, the company said.
FDA notified healthcare professionals of a Class I Recall of the St. Jude Medical Riata and Riata ST Silicone Endocardial Defibrillation Leads. The silicone insulation covering these defibrillation leads is at risk of premature abrasion. When abrasion occurs, the conductors inside the leads can come out (externalized) of the insulation. Leads with externalized conductors may develop electrical dysfunction and not work as intended. In the event the device does not work as intended, should a life-threatening heart rhythm occur, pacing or defibrillation therapy may not be delivered as intended. This may result in serious adverse events, including death.
The recall includes the following model numbers:
Riata (8F) Silicone Endocardial Defibrillation Leads
Models: 1560, 1561, 1562, 1570, 1571, 1572, 1580, 1581, 1582, 1590, 1591, 1592
Riata ST (7Fr) Silicone Endocardial Defibrillation Leads
Models: 7000, 7001, 7002, 7010, 7011, 7040, 7041, 7042
BACKGROUND: The leads connect an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (lCD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) to cardiac tissue in order to monitor and regulate a patient’s heart rate by providing pacing and delivery of high voltage therapy for ventricular arrhythmias.