Medtronic Sprint Fidelis lead recall: Determining the initial 5-year management cost to Medicare

Amit K. Mehrotra, Bradley P. Knight, Matthew P. Smelley, Dipak P. Shah, Ian Weisberg, Jose Baez-Escudero, John F. Beshai, Martin C. Burke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The Medtronic Sprint Fidelis defibrillator lead has a high failure rate and was recalled in October 2007. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the incremental cost of the management of this lead to Medicare. Methods: Real hospital cost data in U.S. dollars were collected on 32 patients with a Medtronic Sprint Fidelis lead who underwent lead revision. Of these patients, 15 were excluded because they had insurance coverage other than that provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Seventeen patients with Medicare or Medicaid coverage underwent lead revision either electively (n = 6) or after being hospitalized for multiple shocks caused by a lead fracture (n = 11). Eighty-eight percent of the patients underwent extraction of the Fidelis lead at the time of lead revision. A decision model was made that outlines the potential management of the lead recall over time. The existing literature and Medtronic data were reviewed for parameters included in the decision model. The model assumed that 175,000 patients were alive with an implanted Fidelis lead at the time of the recall and that the annual failure rate will be 1.8% over the first 5 years. It was also assumed that 1% of patients without a lead fracture would also undergo elective lead revision each year and that the proportion of patients who would have the Fidelis lead extracted rather than abandoned would be 20:80. Estimates with ranges were used for parameters for which no data are available. The industry standard rate of lead failure was estimated based on the Sprint Quattro model 6947 lead, and this was subtracted from the estimated rates for the Sprint Fidelis lead such that the incremental cost of the lead failure could be estimated. Results: The cost of lead revision trended higher when the Fidelis lead was extracted rather than abandoned ($45,077 ± $11,693 vs $33,802 ± $33, P =.20). In 5 years, the estimated cost impact of the Medtronic Sprint Fidelis lead recall to Medicare will be $287,000,000 (range $176,000,000$1,186,000,000, October 2007 USD). Conclusion: The cost impact of managing a defibrillator lead with a high failure rate to Medicare will be substantial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1197
Number of pages6
JournalHeart rhythm
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Cost
  • Cost analysis
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Lead fracture
  • Lead recall
  • Medtronic Sprint Fidelis leads 6930, 6931, 6948, 6949

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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