Health Highlights: Nov. 18, 201311/18/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Medtronic Recalls Guidewires Used in Heart Procedures
About 15,000 Medtronic devices used in heart procedures are
being recalled by the company because they have defects that could
result in serious injury or death, the U.S. Food and Drug
The recalled products are guidewires. They are inserted through
an artery and used to guide into place devices such as stents, the
The recall was implemented Oct. 21 after Medtronic was informed
about four problems, including one patient who suffered cardiac
arrest but was resuscitated, according to company spokesman Joseph
The coating on the recalled guidewires could break off and
possibly block a blood vessel. The coating is meant to help the
wires slide through blood vessels more easily, the
The FDA has classified the recall as Class I, a category
reserved for products with reasonable potential to cause serious
injury or death.
The recall covers certain lots of guidewires made since April.
Medtronic said it has halted new shipments of the wires and alerted
regulators worldwide about the problem, the
Obama Nominates Health Care Law Backer To Be Surgeon General
An early supporter and advocate for the Affordable Care Act has
been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the country's next
Dr. Vivek Murthy is founder and president of Doctors for
America, a group that campaigned for the controversial health care
law before Congress passed it in 2010. He is a doctor at Brigham
and Women's Hospital in Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical
The New York Timesreported.
He also has been a leader in HIV prevention and AIDS education
in both the U.S. and India.
Murthy "will be a powerful messenger" on health policy,
according to a statement release Thursday by White House spokesman
Jay Carney. His nomination is subject to Senate approval.
The previous surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, left her post
in July to return to work at a clinic she founded in Bayou La
Batre, Ala. Since then, Dr. Boris Lushniak has been acting surgeon
New Drug for Rare Blood Cancer Approved by FDA
A new drug to treat a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer
was approved Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration.
Imbruvica was approved for patients with mantle cell lymphoma
who have already undergone at least one previous drug treatment.
This type of cancer typically begins in the lymph nodes but has
usually spread to the bone marrow and other parts of the body by
the time it's diagnosed, the
The new once-a-day capsule blocks a protein that enables the
cancer to multiply and spread. The FDA's approval is based on a
study of 111 patients. Tumors shrank or disappeared in 66 percent
of the patients who took Imbruvica. However, it's not clear if the
drug actually prolongs patients lives.
The new drug from Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech Inc. is the
second to be approved under the FDA's breakthrough designation,
which was approved by Congress last year. The classification is
meant to accelerate development of promising drugs by giving
companies additional meetings and earlier communication with FDA
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