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Thinner defibrillator leads, such as those sold and subsequently recalled by Medtronic and St. Jude Medical, are more likely to exhibit failures related to impedance changes and electrical noise, researchers say.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The defibrillator leads developed and subsequently recalled by medical device makers Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) may have been doomed by design, according to a new study.

The slimmer profiles boasted by Medtronic's Fidelis lead and St. Jude's Riata and Riata ST leads may have made them more prone to impedance changes and electrical noise, researchers reported.

"The crucial point is whether a small-diameter lead can be robust enough to last over time," the authors of a study published this month in the journal Heart Rhythm wrote. "Indeed, in our study, a small lead diameter proved to be a significant predictor of lead failure, accounting for the cumulative incidence of events in the Riata and Sprint Fidelis families."

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