ICD dos and don'ts

Learn what to do and what not to do when you have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).


A woman chopping potatoes Do live a normal life. Most household equipment, including microwave ovens and electric drills, should not affect your ICD. One exception though is induction hobs. If you use an induction hob for cooking, keep a distance of at least 60 centimetres (2 feet) from your pacemaker, as this type of hob generates an electromagnetic field that may interfere with your pacemaker settings.

Do tell the DVLA you have an ICD. If you had an ICD put in because you went into cardiac arrest, you won’t be able to drive for six months. But if you had it fitted just as a precaution, the driving ban is one month. You can then drive again if your ICD hasn’t delivered any shocks.

Do always carry your device ID card.

Do tell staff you have an ICD when you go through security scanners, as it will set off the alarm. Walking through quickly shouldn’t be a problem, but you can ask for a hand search or hand-held metal detector check instead. The detector should not be placed directly over your ICD.


A man talking on his mobileDon't dangle headphones round your neck or within 3cm (1in) of your ICD.

Don't put mobile or cordless phones, or MP3 players within 15cm (6in) of your ICD.

Don't wear magnetic fasteners near your ICD.

Don't use a TENS machine for pain relief, and keep electric-pulse body-toning tools below your stomach.


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