Medical device that treats pain shocks, burns patients

A report on medical device problemsWeiss M, Mohr H
For years, medical device companies and doctors have touted spinal-cord stimulators as a panacea for millions of patients suffering from a wide range of pain disorders, making them one of the fastest-growing products in the $400 billion medical device industry. Companies and doctors aggressively push them as a safe antidote to the deadly opioid crisis in the U.S. and as a treatment for an aging population in need of chronic pain relief.

But the stimulators — devices that use electrical currents to block pain signals before they reach the brain — are more dangerous than many patients know, an Associated Press investigation found. They account for the third-highest number of medical device injury reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with more than 80,000 incidents flagged since 2008.

The FDA data contains more than 500 reports of people with spinal-cord stimulators who died, but details are scant, making it difficult to determine if the deaths were related to the stimulator or implant surgery.

AP Associated Press, 25.11.2018
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