Guidant warns of new, rare device defects

Guidant Corp. has notified health care providers and patients of malfunctions that can occur with 170,000 of its pacemakers on rare occasions. The defects are with 40 models of the Insignia and Nexus families of pacemakers, which can lose their ability to properly pace the heart, and the news follows the recall or safety advisory on about 150,000 of the company's other pacemakers and defibrillators since May. Noting how rare the defects are, an FDA official said, "We believe the risk of malfunction is extremely low."

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