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Heart Device Batteries Losing Power

Mon, 09/14/2009 - 6:35am
Marley Seaman, AP Health Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Medtronic Inc. warned doctors on Friday that about 6,300 of the company's implanted heart devices may not last as long as expected.

Medtronic said the batteries in the Concerto and Virtuoso devices may have to be replaced a few months earlier than expected because of a current drain, although it said the implants are working properly. The company said there are no safety problems with the device and no risk of a sudden power loss. Medtronic added that no patients have been injured.

The Minneapolis company disclosed the problem in a letter to doctors. Medtronic said the faulty devices were made in 2006, and that so far, only a specific group of the devices is affected.

Concerto is a cardiac resynchronization therapy implant, which is designed to help the lower chambers of the heart pump blood at the same time. Virtuoso is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which correct abnormal heart rhythms.

The devices give warnings when it is time for a replacement, and Medtronic said the products continue to work for at least three months after that. The company plans to send warning letters to individual patients later this month.

In aftermarket trading, Medtronic stock rose 10 cents to $38 following a decline of $1.11, or 2.9 percent, to $37.90 in the regular session.

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