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If you have an arrhythmia or an ICD that makes it dangerous for you to drive, your doctor might suggest that you stop driving, at least for a short time.
If you have an arrhythmia that doesn't cause significant symptoms, you don't have to stop or limit driving.
This topic is about driving private vehicles. For commercial driving, the government has specific regulations about driving when you have certain medical conditions.
Restrictions on the right to drive depend on several factors. Your doctor makes a recommendation based on:footnote 1, footnote 2
You can drive with an arrhythmia as long as it doesn't cause symptoms that makes it dangerous for you to drive.
Your doctor might suggest that you not drive, at least for a short time, if you have symptoms, like confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness. If these symptoms happen when you are driving, you could cause an accident.
Arrhythmias that might restrict the ability to drive include:
If you get an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator), you will not drive for a short time after you get the device implanted. Depending on the reason you got the ICD, you may not be able to drive for a few months. Your doctor will let you know when you can drive again. Your doctor might follow these guidelines:footnote 3
You can drive if you have a pacemaker and you don't have any symptoms such as fainting. But right after you get a pacemaker, your doctor will likely ask you to not drive for at least a week after the device is implanted. This gives you time to heal.
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CitationsEpstein AE, et al. (1996). Personal and public safety issues related to arrhythmias that may affect consciousness: Implications for regulation and physician recommendations. A medical/scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology. Circulation, 94(5): 1147–1166.Shen W-K, et al. (2017). 2017 ACC/AHA/HRS guideline for the evaluation and management of patients with syncope. Circulation, published online March 9, 2017. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000499. Accessed March 30, 2017.Epstein AE, et al. (2007). Addendum to Personal and public safety issues related to arrhythmias that may affect consciousness: Implications for regulation and physician recommendations: A medical/scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology. Public safety issues in patients with implantable defibrillators. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the Heart Rhythm Society. Circulation, 115(9): 1170–1176.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Current as ofDecember 6, 2017
Current as of: December 6, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
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