Risk of St. Jude Defibrillator Failures Due to Recalled Riata Leads

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted September 28, 2012


As a result of a defective design associated with St. Jude Riata lead wires, which are used to connect implantable defibrillators to the heart, many individuals throughout the United States have been told that their defibrillator may fail to function as expected when needed. This could pose a risk of serious and life-threatening injury, as well as expose individuals to the susbtantial risks associated with surgery to remove St. Jude Riata leads.

Potential lawsuits over defibrillator failures caused by recalled St. Jude Riata leads are being reviewed by the product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. for individuals nationwide.

St. Jude Riata defibrillator leads were recalled from the market in December 2010, amid reports of the insulation failing, with the wire penetrating through the insulation. This could result in painful and unnecessary shocks or cause defibrillator failures when patients need them most.

After the product was introduced in 2002, more than 227,000 of the small wires were implanted in patients throughout the world and recent reports suggest that there are still approximately 79,000 Riata leads active in patients in the United States.

Since the recall, many individuals who previously received a Riata lead have been left with the defective product in their body, because of the substantial risks associated with attempting to remove the lead wires.

Over the past year, individuals who have one of the recalled Riata leads have had to undergo additional x-ray and other imaging exams to monitor for potential failures with the defibrillator.

The FDA has recommended that patients get a two-view chest x-ray or fluoroscopy ot check the condition of the leads and an exam to check for any electrical abnormalities. Many patients have also been remotely monitored to catch potential electrical problems with St. Jude defibrillators, which may be a sign that the lead is failing to function as it is intended.


To review a potential claim for a St. Jude defibrillator failure or replacement of the lead wire that was required because of a defective Riata lead, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

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