St. Jude ICD Battery Leak and Corrosion Causing Severe Infection

I know there is a recall for the St Jude ICD related to battery power...  that's not what I need.

Does ANYONE know of anyone who had the battery leak into the heart causing a severe infection, or has it happened to you?  This happened to my Dad last October.....  he was rushed into surgery to have it removed.  The infection was so bad he couldn't have it replaced and he died last week.  The last year has been awful for him.  We promised him we wouldn't stop fighting to prevent this from happening to others.  But the device is "missing" according to the hospital and St Jude's isn't helping at all. 

If you have had this happen - or know of anyone - please message me!!  

Thank you!



@Robin1 Thank you

by rmlyonsfamily - 2018-12-29 10:10:07


Thank you.  I didn't think they could leak or corrode either.  But his surgeon was very clear the day this all happened.  He said that there was corrosion and the casing had separated causing the leak.  St. Jude's was involved immediately, but then when our family started pushing for answers and contacted an attorney - that was it.  No one would talk. 


Corrosion in pacemakers

by Selwyn - 2018-12-29 10:49:46

This is a sad report. I am very sorry for your loss.  

Can we rely on an eye witness report ? Maybe not. The device needs forensic analysis.

Can a device fail?  Maybe. There are no perfect manufacturing processes.

I did manage to do some reading about the subject- interesting! The original work was done in 1970's. Cleary titanium is very stable within the human body, though it can be mechanically worn down ( eg. joint replacements). You will see below in the literature what is called fret erosion for the first 6 months of a pacemaker casing, until the fibrous tissue has formed and contracted to stop movement. 

I cannot believe that any manufacturing process is 100% free of defects.

The battery itself is a sealed unit. However there must be connecting electrodes coming out of the battery. Could these be defective? If so the case would have to fail. What is the probability of a double failure, case and battery? 

Hopefully the quality control would weed out the defects, however you then have to ask, "What weeds out the defects in quality control?"!

As Sherlock Holmes says ( and it was written by a doctor):

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

Do see:

and for the 1970's:


Never Say Never

by Grateful Heart - 2018-12-29 12:05:18

While improbable to most....rare things can happen.  Anything is possible and we shouldn't forget that.

I had a problem with my first device (nothing compared to your father's situation) but I was told it was rare.  After removal or replacement, if the device is not requested back by the device company for analysis in a timely manner, it is destroyed. 

Mine was almost destroyed because the device rep did not listen to me when I told him they wanted it back.  He wasn't aware of it and I am just the patient, I know, I know. 

After making a few phone calls and pushing the issue (I would just like to know what happened), he actually went to the basement of the hospital and retrieved it before it was destroyed.  (At least that is what I was told).

It has been 5 months...I have been in contact with the device company (not St. Jude) and have been told they cannot release the findings to me...only to my doctor.  I don't see any of my doctors for another 7 or 8 months.  So much for HIPPA.  Perhaps a FOIA request.   

Very sorry for your families loss.  You deserve some answers and we would all be very interested.  Maybe start with the surgeon who stated that was the cause.  I would think he would want some answers too.  Good luck

Grateful Heart

You know you're wired when...

Your old device becomes a paper weight for your desk.

Member Quotes

I have a well tuned pacer. I hardly know I have it. I am 76 year old, hike and camp alone in the desert. I have more energy than I have had in a long time. The only problem is my wife wants to have a knob installed so she can turn the pacer down.