Driving is considered a basic need by many people. Inability to drive may severely limit individuals’ freedom and may have an adverse effect on their quality of life. However, fainting or experiencing shocks while driving may imply deleterious effects on you, passengers and other road users. Therefore, it is important to be informed about driving restrictions in the different situations after pacemaker and ICD implantation.
Of note, the recommendations for driving restrictions strongly differ throughout the countries. But they not only differ by region, but also according to the underlying disease and the implanted device. Therefore, you should ask your doctor to explain to you the concrete restrictions in your individual situation and the duration.
Some general comments that may guide you:
You should not drive when feeling sick, experiencing chest pain or dizziness. If you experience such symptoms while driving, you should try to stop your car in a safe environment.
Usually, after implantation of a new device, you should not drive for the first weeks after implant.
Usually, driving restrictions differentiate between private drivers and professional drivers. Ask your doctor about this, if applicable.
After having experienced an ICD shock, there may be additional driving restrictions.
Please be aware that the factor leading to the driving restrictions is not the device, but the underlying cardiac disease. Therefore, even rejecting a device may imply restrictions for driving.
Therefore, the driving restrictions should not lead your decision for or against a recommended implantation.
Always check with your doctor and the local authorities in your country whether driving restrictions apply to you. The European Society of Cardiology/European Heart Rhythm Association can only issue general recommendations and may not be held responsible for the above-given advice.