Defibrillator Wires Linked to Fatalities

BY THOMAS M. BURTON, The Wall Street Journal

Heart-defibrillator wires made by St. Jude Medical Inc. are responsible for at least 20 deaths because of "high-voltage failures," according to a prominent cardiologist's analysis published online in a cardiac-medicine journal.

About 79,000 of the Riata and Riata ST defibrillator wires, called "leads," are still implanted in patients in the U.S., although St. Jude stopped selling the devices in December 2010. A year later, St. Jude said it was recalling them due to a tendency for the metal wires to wear through their silicone covering.

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