The firmware update requires an in-person patient visit with a health care provider -- it cannot be done from home via Merlin.net. The update process will take approximately 3 minutes to complete.
During this time, the device will operate in backup mode (pacing at 67 beats per minute), and essential, life-sustaining features will remain available. At the completion of the update, the device will return to its pre-update settings.
As with any firmware update, there is a very low risk of an update malfunction. Based on St. Jude Medical's previous firmware update experience, installing the updated firmware could potentially result in the following malfunctions (including the rate of occurrence previously observed):
- reloading of previous firmware version due to incomplete update (0.161 percent),
- loss of currently programmed device settings (0.023 percent),
- loss of diagnostic data (none reported), or
- complete loss of device functionality (0.003 percent).
For pacing dependent patients, consider performing the cybersecurity firmware update in a facility where temporary pacing and pacemaker generator can be readily provided.
Also, today I learned that it's possible to boot pacemakers in Safe Mode.
Half a million vulnerable devices, out there in bodies, waiting for the Barron to pop their heart-plug.