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Navigating the Landscape of Medical Device Advisories: A Special Report from the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society Device Advisory Committee.

Cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIED) are often important for regulating cardiac rate and rhythm. Pacemakers and defibrillators are among the top 10 most-implanted medical devices, with >1.5 million devices implanted annually. While millions of patients have benefited with improved quality of life and survival, CIED-systems are increasingly complex and do not always perform according to expectations. Advisory notices communicate important information about the safety and performance of a medical device to healthcare providers and patients. Medical device recalls are common, with >35 unique device recalls in the past five years. From an ethical standpoint, CIED recalls highlight a range of considerations including the consent process, duty to report, how best to promote autonomous decision-making, trust in the healthcare system, as well as disproportionate impact of these considerations on equity-deserving groups. The purpose of the current article is to review and advise regarding the process around medical device advisory and recall, with a specific focus on clinicians caring for patients affected by these devices. We have sought the input of a lawyer, a patient advocacy group, and an ethicist to guide the clinical management of, and communications regarding, device recalls and advisories. Diligent surveillance and a clear, transparent patient consent process regarding these small but potentially serious device-anomalies is paramount in ensuring patients feel safe and informed. Meaningful patient engagement helps to ensure optimal communication and disclosure mechanisms before implant and throughout follow-up, accessibility of information both in the initial implant and recall action process, and trust in healthcare systems and providers.

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