California residents with a medical device that helps their heart may experience catastrophic consequences if the device fails. If a loved one died or experienced severe injury due to manufacturer defects, there may be compensation options.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, pacemakers are implantable devices designed to prevent your heart from beating too slowly and coordinating the chambers, ensuring they can beat synchronously. Similarly, implantable cardioverter defibrillators reset your heart when it beats too fast or erratically.
Who needs a pacemaker?
If you or a loved one experienced heart failure, a pacemaker could help you live longer and feel better. Doctors consider a variety of factors before recommending the medical device to their patients. One of the factors is the classification of cardiac disease. Class I and II are the mildest types as they don’t limit activity significantly or cause undue fatigue, chest pain, palpitations or shortness of breath. Class III and IV cardiac disease restrict your activities and results in pain and discomfort.
Doctors also check for heart rhythm problems and measure how much blood the left ventricle pumps. Depending on the outcome of tests, your doctor may recommend a pacemaker or defibrillator with pacemaker capabilities.
What are the signs of pacemaker failure?
Pacemakers and ICDs are highly reliable life-saving medical devices and seldom fail. However, when they do, the results are often deadly. Patients with an inoperable or malfunctioning implant may experience the following:
- Frequent hiccups
- Loss of consciousness
- Twitching muscles in the chest or abdomen
- Difficulty breathing
Although complete failure is rare, it can happen due to battery depletion, interference from other devices or an electronic circuit failure. ICDs designed with smaller leads have higher-than-expected failure rates in many cases. Learn more about medical device failure and product liability here.