Those who have a heartbeat that is faster than normal, a condition known as ventricular tachycardia, have a significantly higher risk of developing ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation is a condition in which the heart beats erratically, fails to adequately pump blood and, as a result, cuts off blood supply to vital organs. While ventricular fibrillation will require emergency medical care to save a person’s life, high-risk patients will likely have a cardioverter-defibrillator implanted in their heart.
What Is A Cardioverter-Defibrillator?
Referred to as implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), these devices are small, battery-powered generators that deliver electrical impulses to the heart to ensure that it beats normally. Should the heart start to beat abnormally, the ICD will shock the right ventricle to prevent ventricular fibrillation. Currently, two of the most common brand names of ICDs are the Sprint Fidelis Lead, by Medtronic, and the Vitality, by Guidant. Boston Scientific and St. Jude are also known to manufacture and distribute implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators have been reported to malfunction—either by transmitting electrical impulses inappropriately or failing to generate them altogether. Due to such severe side effects, some of these pumps have been voluntarily recalled by their manufacturers. In fact, a 2009 study conducted by the Minneapolis Heart Institute and the Mayo Clinic focused on the Medtronci Sprint Fidelis Leads, finding that:
- Most patients still have their ICD implanted
- About 12 percent of patients with ICDs will experience ICD failure within the first 3 years of having this device implanted
- Medtronic claims that only 5 percent of ICDs fail within this same time period
In response to reports of ICD failure, in 2005 and 2006, both Medtronic and Guidant issued voluntary recalls of certain models of these heart devices. For Medtronic, recalled ICDs included:
- Sprint Fidelis 6930
- Sprint Fidelis 6931
- Sprint Fidelis 6948
- Sprint Fidelis 6949
For Guidant, recalled implantable cardioverter-defibrillators included:
- Vitality: 1870, 1871, T125, T127, T135
- Vitality 2: T165, T167, T175, T177
ICD patients who have any of these models should consult their doctor for a thorough exam to determine if the ICD should be removed.
Compensation for ICD Injuries
Patients injured by an ICD defect, along with families who lost a loved one to a defective device, will likely have a legal claim entitling them to a settlement for their injuries and losses. Prospective plaintiffs can find out if they have a case by attending a free initial consult with an experienced injury lawyer at Gacovino, Lake & Associates.
For over a decade our lawyers have been dedicated to defending the rights of those injured by defective medical devices. We serve as tireless advocates for the injured and will fight aggressively to ensure you recover the full amount of compensation available. For more information about the specific circumstances in your case, contact us today.