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Removing Medtronic heart cables is hard choice

New York Times, April 7, 2009
In 2007 Medtronic stopped selling the Sprint Fidelis, a heart defibrillator cable, after five patients who had the cables died. But only now is the full scope of the public health problem becoming clear for the Sprint Fidelis, which is still used by 150,000 people in this country. In the next few years, thousands of those patients may face risky surgical procedures to remove and replace the electrical cable. Medtronic estimates that the cable has failed in a little more than 5% of patients after 45 months of being implanted. But as a preventive measure, some patients with working cables are having them removed. Already, four patients have died during extractions.