The problem seems to affect only about 6,300 devices and may cause premature battery depletion. Medtronic recommends that physicians follow-up the affected devices every three months and that the patient alert feature be programmed "ON-High" (this is what the alarm sounds like) for the Low Voltage Battery alert.
As reported by Dr. Wes (who, by the way, scooped the WSJ), this is not a recall and it suggests none of the affected devices have failed or caused deaths.
Click here to see if your Concerto CRT device or Virtuoso ICD is affected.
This is the link, if you prefer to copy and paste it:
UPDATE (10:51 AM PDT):
I just got some additional information on this. Medtronic reiterates that there is no safety issue here. This is not a recall and patients don't have to do anything other then they're already doing. Medtronic is not recommending prophylactic explant or anything like that because there will be no sudden loss of output and the devices will function and deliver therapy as needed.
Also, Medtronic has said they intend to honor the warranty on these devices and provide reasonable unreimbursed medical coverage for patients who must have the devices replaced early due to this advisory.
Again, look up your device's serial number at http://CVSNList.medtronic.com. If your device is affected, you'll likely receive a letter from Medtronic.
Here's a little more context:
There have been more than 200,000 Concerto CRTDs and Virtuoso ICDs implanted worldwide. Medtronic has identified 6,300 worldwide that may be impacted (a little over 3% of all Concertos and Virtuosos).
You are right about the copper supplier; unfortunately, we don't name our suppliers contractually (it was a copper supplier to one of our other component suppliers). The copper used in the remaining devices doesn't have the same porosity issue.
I just obtained a copy of the letter to physicians:
And here's Medtronic's official statement:
Medtronic notified physicians that a relatively small number of Concerto CRT-Ds (cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillators) and Virtuoso ICDs are not lasting as long as projected. Affected devices may have a higher than normal current drain on the battery due to a specific component issue. However, this gradual current drain on the device battery does not pose a patient safety concern, and there have been no reports of patient injuries. There is no risk of sudden loss of output and these devices will continue to deliver therapy as needed until they reach End of Service (EOS). Patients do not have to do anything differently. They should keep up with their regular device check-ups.