Managing Pacemaker Safety Alerts: Experience with Three Successive Models of a Single Manufacturer

Osnat Gurevitz*, Chava Granit, David Bar-Lev, David Luria, Igor Lipchenca, Zeev Rotstein, Michael Eldar, Michael Glikson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This report describes the experience of a large pacemaker center during three successive replacement operations due to safety alerts involving three models from the same manufacturer. Between March 1993 and May 1999, 210 patients were implanted with three DDD pacemaker models (Sorin Biomedica, Saluggia, Italy) that were subsequently subject to safety alerts. Pacemaker records were reviewed for complications related to device malfunction, and those secondary to the replacement procedure. Pacemaker malfunction was observed in 16.4% of units despite much lower estimates from the company (range 1-4%). With the exception of one, all units were replaced. Malfunctions were discovered in 7 of 20 pacemakers following an urgent call for follow-up issued as a result of the alert. Twenty units implanted as substitutes for those replaced following the first alert turned out to be subject to the third alert. Significant clinical consequences of malfunction occurred in 5.3% of patients including a near fatal event in one case, while complications related to the replacement procedure occurred in 8.3% of patients, including one fatality. On the issuance of a safety alert, failure rates in a particular center may be higher than published by the manufacturer, and should prompt action by the center to weigh local incidence of device failure against complications of replacement procedures. When device failure mechanism is not entirely clear, particularly in cases of successive model failures, replacement devices from a different manufacturer should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2283-2288
Number of pages6
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Device recall
  • Intracardiac devices
  • Pacemakers
  • Safety alerts


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