Heart implant devices, or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), can help patients who suffer from ventricular arrhythmias, ventricular tachycardia, or fibrillation. They can reduce the risk of serious heart conditions, such as cardiac arrest or irregular heartbeats, and improve quality of life. It is important to note, however, that some heart implant devices have been linked to serious medical complications.
How Heart Implant Devices Works
Heart implant devices are typically recommended for patients who experience ventricular arrhythmia, long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, congenital heart disease. They are also intended for those who have had a heart attack or are at a high risk of experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. The device is inserted directly under the skin, where it monitors the heart rate and transmits an electric shock if an irregular heartbeat is detected. Newer ICD models may even be equipped with built-in pacemakers that regulate the patient’s heart rate.
Complications from Heart Implant Devices
In February 2005, Medtronic, one of the top manufacturers of heart implant devices, notified physicians that approximately 87,000 of their units were defective. These units were manufactured between April 2001 and December 2003. The defect may lead to a device short-out that suddenly prevents the unit from functioning. If this were to happen, the patient would have to seek immediate medical care to have the device surgically replaced.
In October 2007, Medtronic suspended the sale of one of the components, a Sprint Fidelis lead, found within their ICD units. This was because they had received reports of five patient deaths directly linked to this defect. Patients who received devices that contained these defective leads were advised to consult with their doctors to closely monitor their heart implants and/or were forced to undergo corrective surgeries to have the units replaced.
Recipients of heart implant devices who have experienced side effects or required revision surgery to replace defective units may be entitled to compensation. Consulting a qualified legal professional can help them to determine if they may be eligible for medical bill reimbursement or other fees that were the result of faulty heart implant devices.