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You need to inform the DVLA that you have a defibrallator fitted. You can download form defib1 from the DVLA website (Opens in a new window). If your doctor is in agreement you should be able to drive 6 months after the device is fitted,or 6 months from it last firing (unless it is fired in a clinical test). To discuss the DVLA rules with them you can call them on 0300 7906806.

Travelling Abroad

If you are travelling abroad you will need to ensure your travel insurance company is aware that you have an ICD, full dislosure of all medical details is essential.  Some companies may decline cover. The BHF has an information sheet on insurance.

Be sure to carry your ICD documentation.

Carry your medication, ½ in your hand luggage,½ in your suitcase.Make sure you have enough medication for your whole holiday.

If you have any medi-alert jewellery take it with you.

Try to find the details of the nearest ICD clinic to your destination.

You do not need to carry your home monitoring equipment.

Carry a list of your conditions and medications.

If you take diuretics think about timing for the airport.

Allow plenty of time to get through the airport. If you require assistance remember to book it in advance.

If you are going through airport security show your ICD documentation and ask to be searched by hand if possible. If you have to go through the detector your device will come to no harm if you pass through briskly. ( You may , however, set off the alarm due to the metal casing of the device!).

If you are travelling within the EU a booklet detailing your entitlement to treament can be downloaded here.

Remember to take your medication as prescribed.

Keep well hydrated , especially if you haave a tummy upset.

If you suffer from Long QT or Brugada be especially careful of

Excess alcohol

Diarrohea and vomiting

High temperature

Recreational drugs

If you require other medication remember to tell the doctor or pharmacist of your medical history.

Exercise with an ICD.

Moderate exercise should not increase the risk of arrhythmia but you should check with your health professional before beginning an exercise regime. Always warm up gradually and cool down gradually at the end of exercise. Arrhythmia risk does rise if you begin to exercise vigorously from rest and/or cease exercise suddenly.

It is not wise to participate in contact sports with an ICD fitted.

If you have an underlying heart condition  this is more likely to to be affected by exercise than your ICD.

Dont exercise to an intensity that makes you very breathless.

Don’t ignore any chest tightness or pain when exercising, seek medical advice.


Riding a bicycle should not be a problem,but check with your doctor or cardiac nurse.


It is quite acceptable to swim with an ICD fitted once the wound from its fitting has healed.


You should be able to attend concerts or clubs etc with no problem. Don’t get too close to large speakers.

Shop security

When passing through the security devices at the doors of large stores do so briskly. Don’t stop to chat to people in the vicinity of the security devices.

Mobile Phones

Use of a mobile phone is safe but hold it to the ear opposite your ICD. Don’t carry the phone in your breast pocket or on the strap of a bag.

Microwave Ovens and other household appliances

ICD’s are designed to cope with exposure to domestic appliances. If you are going to work with industrial strength units, it would be wise to check with your doctor.

A more comprehensive list of possible interactions with ICD’s is available here