Mechanical Failures of Pacemakers is a Growing Concern for Deaths in UK

Published Date : Aug 10, 2015

The research published by Professor Zian Tseng in the Journal of the American Medical Association, he states, about a third of every unexpected death amongst patients with cardiac issues with pacemakers or such devices is related to malfunctions. According to scientists, there is evidence suggesting that malfunctioning of devices could be the cause of mortality which indeed is a major concern.

Statistics show, UK houses at least over 40,000 patients with pacemakers every year and hundreds more with Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs). Thus, the calculation comes one fourth of a million people living in the country with such devices. These tiny devices are inserted in the heart to keep it beating in a prescribed rhythmic manner.
Out of the 517 patients examined for sudden death at University of San Francisco, about 30% died due to failure of devices. The mechanical failures include incorrect programming of implants, batteries running out, and incorrect fitting. Thus, UK witnesses about 14,000 sudden deaths in patients fitted with ICDs or pacemakers due to these failures. 

Professor Tseng stated though some of these devices are saving lives and increasing life spans, we cannot live under the assumption that they are all doing us. He added that there is a dire need for a systematic surveillance of such problems. 

A cardiology consultant, Dr Paul Roberts working at University of Southampton stated the technology evolves rapidly each day making incredible advances and improvements in a patient’s quality and length of life. But inevitably so, sometimes, this technology fails us. She further added that these failures are learning curves for technical and healthcare professionals in the industry.