St. Jude warns of heart-device battery issue linked to two deaths

St. Jude Medical Inc warned on Tuesday that some of its implanted heart devices are at risk of premature battery depletion, a condition it said has been linked to two patient deaths and could require the replacement of some devices.

News of the issue surfaced on Monday evening when short-selling firm Muddy Waters tweeted a copy of a physician advisory on the matter from St. Jude, which agreed in April to sell itself for $25 billion to Abbott Laboratories.

That letter said such problems with the lithium batteries that power the devices were rare and could be identified by patients using tools for monitoring battery levels from their homes.

Out of nearly 400,000 devices manufactured through May of last year, the company has identified 841 failed implanted cardioverter defibrillators with lithium clusters, which can form after a device delivers electricity to the heart, according to…

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