Name and Version: Medtronic HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device (HVAD system)
Manufacturing and Distribution Dates: March 2006 to May 2018
Devices Recalled in the U.S.: 204,017
All devices are affected by this recall and include the following products:
The HeartWare Ventricular Assist System (HVAD) is indicated for use as a bridge to cardiac transplantation in patients who are at risk of death from end-stage left ventricular heart failure. It functions as a pump that helps the heart deliver blood to the rest of the body. The HeartWare System is designed for in-hospital and out-of-hospital settings, including transportation via fixed wing aircraft or helicopter. These indications have been expanded to include HVAD use for myocardial recovery, or as destination therapy in patients for whom subsequent transplantation is not planned.
Medtronic is recalling the HeartWare HVAD because of the possibility for an interruption to occur in the electrical connection between the system’s power source (battery, AC adapter, or DC adapter) and the HVAD controller. This interruption to the electrical connection, which occurs when the power source is still physically connected, is caused by oxidation on the connecting surfaces between the power source connector and the controller’s power source socket.
Interruptions to the electrical connection could cause unintended intermittent electrical disconnection, which could result in a pump stop. A pump stop could cause patient harm such as exacerbation of heart failure symptoms, or symptoms such as mild weakness, dizziness, anxiety, nausea, loss of consciousness, or death.
Patients with end-stage heart failure may be affected. Patients who are completely dependent on the HVAD system for their cardiac output, such as patients with very low native heart ejection fraction, or those who have fused or surgically closed aortic valves, are at greatest risk of harm.
Medtronic sent a letter on May 2, 2018 advising hospitals and physicians to:
Reinforce the importance of always ensuring two power sources are connected at all times
Reinforce best practice guidance for managing power sources when going to sleep and awakening
Instruct patients to report any persistent, unexpected audible tones to the VAD team for additional instructions
In addition, FDA reminds patients to call 911 if they are experiencing a medical emergency. FDA also reminds patients whenever possible to have a trained caregiver nearby when changing power sources and/or controllers.