Defective St. Jude Defibrillator Leads

Over 128,000 patients have received a St. Jude Riata or Riata ST heart defibrillator leads worldwide, many of which received their implant in the United States. Although the St. Jude devices have been recalled in November of 2011, approximately 79,000 patients (at the time of the recall) continue to live with the potentially defective device because of the risks associated with surgery. In the event of an implant failure, patients are strongly urged to seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable product liability lawyer with experience in representing clients against large medical device manufacturing companies.

Unusually High Rate of Insulation Erosion

Defibrillator leads are the thin wires that connect the defibrillator to the heart. The leads are what deliver the electrical shocks when the heart begins to beat in an abnormal pace or pattern. When these metal wires escape its insulation, patients can be at risk of:

  • Unintended shocks
  • Device failure
  • Organ perforation
  • Heart attack
  • Cardiac arrest

The St. Jude heart defibrillators have been linked to 20 deaths and numerous complications. A study conducted by the medical device manufacturer found that Riata and Riata ST exhibited failure rates of 24 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

FDA Advises Imaging Tests for St. Jude Defibrillator Patients

On August 16, 2012, the FDA issued a news release advising patients with St. Jude Riata and Riata ST defibrillator leads to check the condition of their implants’ leads through X-rays and other imaging technology. The recommendations are supported by several studies that have demonstrated that regular imaging tests can detect problems with the lead insulation early on, and protect patients from suffering serious health problems.

Legal Rights for St. Jude Riata and Riata ST Patients

Victims of defective heart defibrillator leads should understand their legal rights to seek financial compensation from St. Jude Medical. Product liability law provides injured patients, a means to seek legal recourse after suffering a serious heart complication or losing a loved one due to the defective Riata or Riata ST devices. Patients may be entitled to damages such as:

  • Revision surgery
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability

Choosing Estey & Bomberger, LLP

Estey Bomberger defective medical device lawyers have more than 70 years of combined experience representing victims of serious injuries. Over the years, our team of product liability lawyers has successfully recovered compensation from large corporations and medical device manufacturers such as Medtronic. As a firm specializing in large damage claims, our attorneys understand how important it is for our clients to recover the maximum compensation possible. Both founding partners have been recognized as National Trial Lawyers, for their success in handling complicated, high damage claims.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

If you have been issued a defective St. Jude Riata or Riata ST defibrillator lead and would like to know more about your legal options, please contact us today for a free consultation with a skilled St. Jude Riata injury lawyer. In a free and private case evaluation, one of our experienced attorneys will assess your case and help you determine the best course of action for your claim.


Estey & Bomberger represent product liability and personal injury victims and are dedicated to helping people nationwide.


  1. Donna Ireland

    Hi, My name is Donna Ireland I have on the 9th of December 2008 by my specialist Emily Kotschet who will not even let me get an ex ray done on my lead that is one of the leads that are defective My lead model number is 7020/65 lead number BGD13094 Lead usage UNK Defibrillator Model # 1207-36 there is another serial # 516069. I have some strange feelings and the last time had to call the ambulance. Now my specialist should have told me and also let me get the xray done just to see if there are any erosion is happening. the last time I went to the hospital the doctor on duty was saying to the Nurse ” the defibrillator is not kicking in correctly” so he called my specialist Emily Kotschet with Melbourne Heart, in Melbourne Australia. I felt after he spoke to her I was not a patient to be concerned with. I have even gone to another specialist who said it should be checked and I feel I should have told about the recall to start with. I had to get my defibrillator checked I asked the technician if the my number lead was on the recall list I finally got an answer and that was yes. I already knew that after research myself. I was getting the nerves burnt in my back when the pain specialist had to stop because my heart rate had dropped to low I think it was around 32 and the procedure was stopped so I had to go back in again at a later date. I specialist called in a St Jude Rep to turn the defibrillator turned off. MORE to it all!!! I feel flobbed off and my heart specialist also told the technician who said yes you do have a faulty lead that my ecg’s are used for their training course’s?. I am a dual citizen of Australia and The united States. I will be going to Nashville TN in May for my daughter’s University in May 2014. I have other health conditions do to a situation in the States in 2001.
    Please let me know what is going on. I do know that it is very dangerous to remove the lead but I sure do need to take care of myself in the future. I am on disability here now and I don’t need anymore worries in my life.

    Kindest Regards,
    Donna Ireland ( Coyle) that is what is on my defibrillator card not Ireland

  2. Donna Ireland

    Sorry, I I meant to say my heart specialist will not give me the paperwork to get the xray done….why? do they get a kick back from St Jude or something???

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