ResMed Plummets After Sleep Device Trial Increases Death Rate

ResMed Inc. fell the most in more than three years after one of the company’s medical devices was found to increase cardiovascular deaths among patients with sleep apnea and chronic heart failure.

ResMed shares fell 16 percent to $55.10 at 11:06 a.m. in New York, the most since October 2011. The stock had gained 28 percent in the last year as of Monday’s close.

ResMed makes devices to treat sleep disorders. In a trial of patients whose hearts were failing and who had sleep apnea, treatment with the company’s Adaptive Servo-Ventilation therapy increased cardiovascular death rates by about a third, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The trial, called SERVE-HF, was designed to find whether treatment in heart failure patients with the company’s devices, along with current standard care, could cut deaths. In the trial, 10 percent of patients using the therapy died of cardiovascular events per year, compared with 7.5 percent of patients in the control group.

“Patient safety is our first and foremost priority,” Chief Medical Officer Glenn Richards said in the statement. “We have alerted and are working with appropriate global regulatory authorities about the safety signal observed in this study.”

ResMed sold $1.56 billion in sleep products last year. The company said it is working with regulators, doctors and patients to make clear that the devices shouldn’t be used in people with symptomatic chronic heart failure and whose left ventricular heart valve is pumping a lower amount of blood.

Patients with sleep apnea can suddenly stop breathing while they sleep, which can lower the amount of oxygen in the blood, according to San Diego-based ResMed. It can be tied to other conditions and is more common in people with heart failure problems, the company said.

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