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Doctors call for better tracking of device wire problems

A leading heart-doctor organization says Medtronic and other device companies need to better track problems with defibrillator wires, and a commander at Walter Reed Army Medical Center said a study involving the company’s Infuse bone-growth product

A group of heart doctors is calling on Medtronic and other medical device companies to do a better job tracking defibrillator wire problems after they are on the market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The company said in March that four of 13 patients who died as a “possible or likely” result of the wires did so while surgeons were trying to remove the leads, a potentially dangerous proceedure.

Meanwhile, a military hospital commander says a former Walter Reed surgeon, who is now a paid consultant for Medtronic, made false claims in a study that exaggerated the benefits of Medtronic’s bone-growth product Infuse.

The New York Times reports that the study conclude a high rate of success in using Infuse to heal soldiers’ shattered legs. But Col. Norvell Coots said patients in the study didn’t exist — “a ghost population” in his words. “So this really was all falsified information,” Coots told the New York Times.

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Medtronic tells the Wall Street Journal that the doctor, Timothy Kuklo, did not have an affiliation with the company at the time he worked on the study. The company wouldn’t disclose details about the consultancy to the newspaper.