Clark, Love & Hutson, GP

Pacemakers can lead to medical complications

Any time Houston residents choose to have pacemakers implanted in their bodies there can be risks. These devices are often life-savers for patients, but occasionally complications arise that cause the patient to suffer serious injury. Medical device manufacturers have an obligation to provide safe and effective devices. When they fail to meet those standards, people can face unexpected injuries.

Any procedure that deals with the heart or heartbeat has a risk of death. A pacemaker is a medical device that is implanted in the chest to regulate the heartbeat. It is used in patients who have a slow heartbeat, an irregular heartbeat or patients who have heart block.

The pacemaker helps to control the patient's heartbeat. There are wires with electrodes at the end that are inserted into a section of the heart. If the electrodes determine that the heartbeat is irregular they will send a signal to the generator to send electrical pulses. The pulses will then travel through the wires and reach the heart.

In recent years there have been many cases of faulty pacemakers. Guidant and Medtronic are two of the major medical device manufacturers that have produced pacemakers that have been found to be faulty. Thousands of injuries and some deaths have been reported because of the defects. Defects have included a cleaning solvent used in a Medtronic pacemaker that disrupts the electrical components. Guidant has had pacemaker malfunctions as well that resulted in over 170,000 pacemakers being recalled in 2005.

If a family believes that a pacemaker has led to a serious injury or even death, they may want to get more information about their potential legal options. Compensation may be available for unexpected medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

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