Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) warned customers this month of an issue with some of its Model 37751 rechargers for its deep-brain stimulation devices, saying they may become unresponsive and unable to fully recharge the neurostimulator until they are reset.
Customers have complained that some of their rechargers are nonfunctional, bleeping every 5 seconds with a blank display screen, Medtronic warned in a letter to customers. All rechargers manufactured since November 2014 are susceptible to the “error state,” which has been reported for 2% of all rechargers manufactured since that date and 0.2% sold before that date.
The recharger is used by patients who are implanted with an neurostimulator for deep brain stimulation therapy.
Nonfunctional rechargers are unable to recharge the neurostimulator until the recharger is reset, Medtronic wrote in the letter. When the neurostimulator battery is fully depleted, patients can lose their therapy and symptoms may return. Some patients receiving deep brain stimulation therapy, such as people with Parkinson’s disease, can experience life threatening injury and even death if they stop their stimulation therapy.
The Fridley, Minn.-based company reported that it has not received notice of any life threatening injury or death associated with this problem.
To prevent the problem, Medtronic recommended that the recharger be plugged into the AC power supply prior to recharging the neurostimulator and remain connected until the recharging session is complete. If the recharger is already unresponsive, the company suggested assisting patients with a reset of the recharger.
While it figures out a permanent solution, Medtronic wrote that doctors should inform their patients of the malfunctioning rechargers and talk to them about how to fix the problem.