St. Jude lead punctures patients' hearts

Poor defibrillator patients. First they got jolted by Medtronic's Fidelis lead. Now, a St. Jude Medical connection wire is perforating their hearts. According to the medical journal PACE, four patients' hearts were punctured by the leads on their Riata defibrillators. Not surprisingly, St. Jude's stock fell 4 percent on the news.

St. Jude is striking back with stats about Riata's safety. The company has submitted its own article to PACE (Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology), citing "new information" that the rate of performation problems is "below or at the low end" of what's been seen with other leads.

Some stock analysts called the story "old news." A study published in April had already showed that patients with the Riata product experienced significantly more perforations than those with Medtronic's product did. More data needed? Sounds like it.

- see this release from St. Jude
- read the report from the Houston Chronicle
- read about St. Jude's response at TwinCities.com

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