Unpredictable danger looms close to heart
Molly de Groh and her children Oliver, left, and Avery all have defibrillators implanted. When AveryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s misfired, repeatedly shocking her, doctors tried to fix it. Now they fear it could do it again. John Gress for The New York Times
By KATIE THOMAS, The New York Times
Monsters attacked Avery de Groh when she was 4. That is how she remembers the day in 2007 when the defibrillator in her chest misfired, sending nine electric shocks through her body in less than 30 minutes.
Today, Avery is a chatty 9-year-old who just learned to roller-skate. She is old enough to know that she was not really attacked by monsters. The culprit was a broken wire from the defibrillator that keeps her heart beating normally. Like her mother and two brothers, she has an inherited condition that makes her prone to a fatal heart rhythm. After AveryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s episode, doctors removed the faulty wire, made by Medtronic, and replaced it with a new one made by St. Jude Medical.
Now it is possible that one is damaged, too. The wire, or lead, known as the Riata, was recalled in December after St. Jude warned doctors that internal cables were poking through the outer casing, causing unwanted shocks or failing to work when needed. Nearly 20 percent of the 128,000 people worldwide who have the Riata may be affected, according to the company… Read More
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