Many patients refer to their defibrillator as a "ticking time bomb" because they do not know if the defibrillator will one day administer an unnecessary shock or if it may not deliver a shock when needed. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, patients are being urged to see their cardiologists so that adjustments can be made to their defibrillators and leads. Such adjustments will cause the devices to beep if the leads break.
Some patients, such as Sarah, had their devices turned off because of the number of unnecessary shocks they received. However, Sarah says she suffered numerous shocks while the device was turned off and before it was taken out. She says she no longer trusts Medtronic's products and wants other patients to know that simply turning the device off will not guarantee that they will not be unnecessarily shocked.
Patients who have not yet had their Medtronic Sprint Fidelis leads fracture are worried about whether or not their actions will cause lead failure. Some are concerned that if they are too active, their leads are more likely to break. In some cases, they have stopped carrying out regular activities out of fear that they will experience unnecessary shocks.
According to the New York Times, one patient, a 48-year-old, decided to have the operation to remove his Sprint Fidelis Lead and defibrillator. The removal "required a painstaking 90-minute operation." The article also notes that Medtronic will only pay for a replacement lead and $800 for each surgery. But the surgeries can cost $12,500 and Medtronic will only pay for patients with fractured leads or those for whom doctors have advised removing the leads because of specific medical conditions.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
One thing that is certain: Patients who are concerned about their Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Leads are feeling a great deal of stress over the issue. They are concerned about which activities they can and cannot do and how long it will be before their leads fracture. They wonder if the leads are still worth the risks and whether or not they should have the leads taken out. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.