Abbott Laboratories has issued software patches to some of its implantable cardiac devices (manufactured by St. Jude) for cybersecurity flaws and battery issues that have plagued the devices, necessitating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to previously issue warnings to patients about the devices [view related posts here and here].
There are more than 350,000 of these devices presently implanted in patients. The devices are cardioverter defibrillators and resynchronization therapy defibrillators, which are designed to slow heart rhythms.
Abbott stated that the patches were planned updates to strengthen the security of the devices, and are not in response to any new vulnerabilities.
The FDA recommends that patients with the Abbott devices receive the firmware update during their next doctor’s appointment. Abbott cautioned patients to proceed carefully, because as with any software updates, they potentially can cause the devices to malfunction.