Recommendations for Drivers with Implanted
Reported June 23, 2009
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A task force of twelve cardiovascular experts
is setting limitations for drivers with Implantable Cardioverter
Patients with ICDs have an ongoing risk of sudden incapacitation, which
could cause great harm if it happens while they are driving a car. The
imposition of driving restrictions makes these recommendations an important
guideline for patients.
"Driving restrictions vary across different countries in Europe. We hope the
document may serve as an instrument for European and National regulatory
authorities to formulate uniform driving regulations," Johan Vijgen,
chairperson of the task force was quoted as saying.
"Driving restrictions are . . .difficult for patients and their families and
have an immediate consequence for their lifestyle. In addition to the
psychological and societal impact, the driving ban may also pose a
considerable impact on employment and education and thereby [upon] economic
status," said Vijgen.
Since the introduction of the ICD in the early 1980s, multiple trials have
demonstrated the efficacy of ICDs for the prevention of sudden arrhythmic
death, resulting in a significant increase in the number of implants. In
Western Europe alone, 63,000 ICDs were implanted in 2006 and 85,500 ICDs in
The recommendations for driving restrictions draw the distinction between
patients who are implanted for primary prevention--those who are at risk for
life-threatening arrhythmias but who have never actually experienced
them—and those who are implanted for secondary prevention, who have survived
a life-threatening arrhythmia. Recommended restrictions are less stringent
for the primary prevention group and stronger for the secondary prevention
"Patients and their families should receive adequate discharge education and
standardized information on driving recommendations,” explained Professor
Vijgen. “It should be emphasized that the risk is mainly a consequence of
the underlying condition and not of the presence of the ICD."
SOURCE: Europace, the official journal of the European Heart Rhythm
Association, June 21, 2009