Boston Scientific Heart Device May Malfunction, Wise Says

Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX)’s Cognis and Teligen defibrillators, used to shock hearts into a normal rhythm, may have a flaw that’s has been linked to a death, said Rick Wise, an analyst with Leerink Swann & Co.

An electrical transformer has shown a “pattern of malfunction,” that causes the device to heat up, Wise said in a note to clients, citing Boston Scientific’s Product Performance Report. The flaw has been detected in 26 of 233,000 units.

The event rate is “extremely low,” he said, and shouldn’t affect the outlook of the Natick, Massachusetts-based company. Boston Scientific’s new defibrillators don’t include the transformer, Wise said. The devices haven’t been recalled and the company is providing doctors and patients with more information, he said.

A panel of physicians and safety advocates reviews the safety of Boston Scientific products, said Steve Campanini, a Boston Scientific spokesman. The company is committed to reporting quality issues to regulators and stands behind the performance of the devices and safety systems, he said.

“While no medical therapy is perfect, the Cognis and Teligen family is performing within our reliability expectations,” he said in an e-mail.

Boston Scientific fell 1.4 percent to $5.86 at 4:06 p.m. New York time. The shares have fallen 18 percent in the past 12 months.

St. Jude’s Device

Defibrillator risks are getting more attention after St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ)’s Riata, which the company stopped selling in 2010, was linked to a rare malfunction caused when the wires used to connect the device to the heart broke free of the insulating cables.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel this week is reviewing the safety of Cameron Health Inc.’s defibrillator, which works without directly attaching the defibrillator wires to the heart. Boston Scientific agreed in March to purchase the closely held company for as much as $1.35 billion to get access to the device called the S-ICD System.

The defibrillator has been tied to inappropriate shocks and infections, the FDA said in a staff report that was released ahead of the April 26 meeting to review the device’s safety and effectiveness.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at mcortez@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.