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Study links St. Jude heart wires to at least 20 deaths

Defective wires in defibrillators have caused at least 20 patient deaths, according to research in a leading cardiology journal. St. Jude stopped selling the devices in 2010 because of safety concerns but tens of thousands of people still have the implants, the AP reports. St. Jude is challenging the findings.
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Defective wires in defibrillators have caused at least 20 patient deaths, according to research in a leading cardiology journal. St. Jude stopped selling the devices in 2010 because of safety concerns but tens of thousands of people still have the implants, the AP reports. St. Jude is challenging the findings.

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St. Jude to halt sale of two heart wires

The Little Canada-based company will stop selling its QuickSite and QuickFlex wires after nearly 40 reports of wires protruding from their insulation. St. Jude says more than 170,000 wires have been sold and no injuries have been reported.

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The medical device maker plans another 500 job cuts, with about 100 of them in Minnesota. That follows an August round of layoffs that trimmed eighty jobs in the state. Sagging sales of defibrillators, pacemakers, and other heart rhythm devices have squeezed St. Jude and others in the industry.

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Design changes to a key Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical Inc. heart device, including an added layer of insulation to reduce the risk of abrasions, do not prevent defects that could lead to device failure and death. That's according to prominent cardiologist Robert Hauser of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis who made the comments in a study published in the medical journal Europace. He tells the Pioneer Press, "I can't say the Durata lead is bad. I just can't say that it's good."

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The Food and Drug Administration okayed the Little Canada-based company's Assura portfolio of implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices. The new line is said to have "advanced sensing options designed to reduce the incidence of inappropriate shocks."

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