St Jude Defibrillators

A defibrillator is a device used to jump start a heart that has abnormal rhythms. Defibrillation consists of delivering a large electrical shock across an affected heart. This shock depolarizes the heart muscle, stops the abnormal rhythms, and allows the heart's natural pacemaker to restart its normal beating pattern. Defibrillation can therefore be seen as a re-boot of a heart it can't bring anyone back to life, but if someone with a heart that's healthy enough to keep them alive has their heart suddenly start twitching, a defibrillator can restore normal heart function.

Most people think of defibrillators as external machines that are used to restart the heart, with paddles that are sometimes placed directly on the heart during surgery. These are the most common types of defibrillators, and can be found in hospitals everywhere. Many businesses and schools even have a small, automatic defibrillator that anyone can use in case a worker or a student has a heart problem.

Recently, new technological advances have made implantable defibrillators possible. As opposed to having paddles or pads being placed on the chest or on the heart directly, the defibrillator is placed surgically within a patient to help his or her heart beat regularly. The defibrillator is implanted to prevent sudden cardiac arrest from ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.

Some patients who have serious heart conditions need to have their hearts defibrillated relatively frequently enough to warrant implanting these devices to shock their heart on a somewhat regular basis. Open-heart surgery is required to have the defibrillator implanted on their heart to produce the shocks. Some of these patients even need a pacemaker as well, to keep the heart beating regularly. Models of the St. Jude defibrillator include a pacemaker.

The St. Jude defibrillator models Epic and Atlas have been recalled because there is a defect in the software. When the defibrillator works properly it will shock the heart up to six times. After mid-life of the defective product, which lasts four to seven years, only the first shock of the six occurs. When the patient receives fewer shocks, the heart may not be properly working and a heart attack or even death can occur. There are over 39,000 patients with an Atlas or Epic St. Jude defibrillator. That is a lot of patients depending upon the technology of the device to support their lives.

Though St. Jude has recalled the defective devices, those who already had the implant need to seek a physician for a corrective procedure. According to St. Jude, the process takes forty-five seconds to download the new software once the device has been checked for malfunctions. While this procedure is quick and non-invasive, it still means the patient has to go back to the doctor to get a functioning device.

If you or a loved one has suffered adverse effects because of an improperly functioning St. Jude defibrillator, you may be eligible for some form compensation. Please contact a lawyer about reporting and filling a claim about the defibrillator implant. No one should have to worry about their defibrillator and pacemaker not working properly when they have heart problems.

Lawyers who specialize in medical cases, especially those relating to defibrillators, want to help you if you have suffered unduly from an improper device or lost a loved one because of the malfunction. The 39,000 patients who have St. Jude defibrillators need to be aware of the malfunction in the product, and, without proper claims, they may be unaware of the recall.