October 23, 2007

Winnipeg Health Region Contacting Patients

The Winnipeg Health Region is contacting approximately 100 patients who have implanted defibrillators with potentially defective leads (wires) attached to them, Dr. Brock Wright, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the WRHA said today.

"The manufacturer, Medtronic Canada, has informed us that the electronic leads attached to these patients' implanted defibrillators may fracture causing the implant to malfunction. That may cause the patient to receive too many or not enough electronic shocks," Dr. Wright said, adding that the possibility of these fractures occurring was small.

All of the affected patients are being contacted, both by phone and letter. A follow-up clinic visit will be scheduled for those patients who need it. As well, the WRHA has set up a phone line (788-8004) for patients who are not affected, but are concerned.
The notice affects only defibrillators – not pacemakers - implanted after January 2004 with Sprint Fidelis defibrillation leads with one of the following model numbers: 6930, 6931, 6948 or 6949.  Every patient with an implanted defibrillator should have a Patient ID card that displays its model number. Patients who have misplaced their cards, or have other concerns, can call the WRHA Inquiry Line (788-8004) and leave a recorded message including their name, date of birth, Personal Health Information Number and any questions they may have and a health care professional will return their call as soon as possible.

All family physicians have also been alerted to the situation so that they are prepared for the possibility of one of their patients presenting to their practice with questions. For similar reasons, the Emergency Program has been notified in case the additional stress of this issue results in one or more patients presenting to an Emergency Department.

For more information contact:

Heidi Graham
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Tele: (204) 926-7178
Cell:  (204) 223-9089

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