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FDA Proposes Lower Risk Classification, Special Controls for External Pacemakers
Date:10/17/2011

SILVER SPRING, Md., Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a proposed rule and draft special controls guidance lowering the risk classification for external pacemaker pulse generators from Class III (high-risk) to Class II (moderate-risk).

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External pacemaker pulse generators are used temporarily to regulate a patient's heartbeat until a permanent pacemaker can be implanted. They are also used following heart surgery or after a heart attack to control irregular heartbeats.  

"The FDA has assessed the benefits and risks of external pacemaker pulse generators," said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). "The special controls outlined in this draft guidance, along with general controls, will assure the safety and efficacy of these devices and provide manufacturers with a more predictable path to market."  

General controls include requirements regarding good manufacturing practice, labeling, registering all establishments with the FDA, listing all devices to be marketed and submitting a premarket notification [510(k)] before marketing a device.

However, general controls alone are insufficient to assure safety and effectiveness of Class II devices. In addition to complying with general controls, Class II devices are also subject to special controls, which may include special labeling requirements, mandatory performance standards and postmarket surveillance.

External pacemaker pulse generators are "preamendment" devices, meaning they were on the market prior to the Medical Device Amendments Act of 1976. Approximately 100 preamendment device types were classified as Class III devices, but many continued to be reviewed under the 510(k) program because the FDA did
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SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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