Freebird4ever: Hi, I had an ICD fitted... - British Heart Fou...

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Hi, I had an ICD fitted in August so still unfamiliar with dos and don’ts any advice would be welcomed.

22 Replies
skid112Heart Star

Hello there are a few threads on this, And

One of our lovely members will also be along shortly as well I'm sure

Thx for reply have you any experience of traveling abroad with icd

Hi there, I've had my ICD a few years now. You'll have the list of electrical items etc that could potentially interfere with it, I'm sure, but over time you will stop worrying about these. One of the consultants I spoke to about mine basically said anything I'd use in day-to-day life would be fine as long as I was sensible, e.g. don't cuddle the microwave or carry your phone in your top left pocket. But I use phone, microwave, hairdryer, sewing machine, gym equipment etc etc every day and have had no issues. I have set off shop security alarms once or twice, but I'm presuming you're not a shoplifter so that shouldn't be a major problem! I don't go through security gates at the airport etc (so get a pat-down or a body scan instead) and I never use those body fat analysers, but I can't think of anything else I out and out avoid. (If you are working with industrial machinery there could be issues, but I don't know much about that.) Honestly, it doesn't take long before you can forget about the ICD and carry on as normal, but feel free to message me if there's anything you think I could help you with x

Thanks for your reply, have already had one shock so anxious about traveling abroad on holiday. Have you travelled abroad and have you had any issues,

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Freebird4ever

I have travelled abroad and it's been fine, just had to show my European Patient Identification Card when I got to security then they let me through a side gate and patted me down. Nobody in airport security has ever been fazed by it so far. Only tricky thing is when I travel with my daughter and we end up being separated as she still has to go through normal security. 90% of the time a kindly member of staff takes care of her but it is less than ideal.

I've still never been shocked (touch wood etc) but can imagine that would make you more anxious. As far as I know, there's no equipment that would interfere in a way that would make the ICD deliver a shock? Would you be any more likely to be shocked while abroad than at home? I guess you could find out before going what you should do if you were shocked while abroad? At least that might stop you worrying so much. At the end of the day, the device is supposed to let you live your life fully, not stop you enjoying yourself. It did take me a while to relax about mine and that was without being shocked so early on. The more "normal" things you get back to doing, the less anxious you'll become. I wonder if the consultant who dealt with your device fitting could advise/reassure you about travelling abroad specifically?

Good luck!

Hi Laura

I had an ICD fitted last May following a cardiac arrest whilst on a cruise ship. Am now looking for travel insurance as pre company LV won’t cover any pre exsisting conditions(thing they have got cold feet after settling last years medical bill) I now have mild to moderate heart failure wondered if you could recommend any ins co,s for me to research. Thanks

skid112Heart Star in reply to Sara1978

There is a pinned post here, Travel insurance FAQs, which will give you more information

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Sara1978

Sorry, travel insurance is not my speciality! Your best bet is to look at the post skid112 has linked to. There have been loads of similar queries posted in the past, so you could search the forum for insurance and see if any other useful information appears. Good luck! :)

Thx for your reply and advice.

I have had an ICD on board since April 2013. I can think of no "dos" and "don'ts". It's just there, the bump under my left collar bone which I scarcely notice but which is (I hope) looking after me. My advice- just ignore it.

Ok will do, thx for your reply

I also have an ICD and can agree with everything that has been said. When you was shocked did your consultant explain to you why it happened? Sometime, very rarely they can misfire if they have not been properly configured.

Thx for that, have you traveled abroad yet I was wondering if you had any advise.


I have an ICD which was implanted a couple of months ago and I have recently been to Spain (2 weeks ago).

I found that being prepared for the "what ifs" helped me feel confident to travel as I was nervous. I prepared the following:

•Got good travel insurance, read the small print to find out exactly what I/my partner should do if I needed to use it.

•Found out where the local hospital/heart centre was and what number to call for an ambulance.

•Found out where the nearest doctor was and the contact details.

•The contact details of the specialist arrhythmia nurse at my local hospital here at home.

•Took my patient ID card.

Obviously, any drugs you need too.

My device is made by Medtronic and apparently, they operate in 120 countries globally so unless I went somewhere off the beaten track most places will be able to interrogate/program my device should it be needed. That helped me feel confident. Find out which one you have if you don't know already and their website will probably have info on travelling abroad.

As Laura has described the airports are well versed in pacemaker/ICD procedures. I flew from Manchester and was able to go through the body scanner (my only regret is that I didn't look to see my device on the screen) and in Spain I got out my ID card to show them, they just said "pacemaker!" at me and let me through the barrier to be hand searched. It was no hassle at all.

It is definitely nerve wracking going abroad post ICD there are no two ways about it and I haven't even been shocked! However, if you know exactly what to do if you don't feel well then instead of worrying too much about the what ifs you can concentrate on well-earned relaxation and soaking up then sun.

Spatz76 x

Thx That’s great advice I feel a lot more positive about traveling abroad now,


Juliesk in reply to Spatz76

Hi, really great advice👍 I’m due to fly just before Easter and thinking about what I’ll need to do - just wondering if you can use the E-passport gates or if you have to queue in the normal passport control queue? Thank you 🙏

Oh p.s. two things that you have to be careful of which I was surprised about are, induction hobs, which everyone I know seems to be getting (even my parents who have myself and my older sister with implanted devices!! They didn't realise we would have to keep away from them) and ear phones, just don't have them hanging over the device whilst not using them.

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Spatz76

I didn't know that about induction hobs! But I also didn't even know what they were, just had to google to make sure I didn't have one. I don't. I knew I'd be glad of my manky old kitchen eventually :)

LOL :) see there's always a positive spin to be found!

Ktomoph_ in reply to Spatz76

your parents new induction hob......that does make me smile!...did you encourage them to get one?...tee hee! What a brill way of avoiding offering to cook!!

Thanks for all the info about your recent travel experience. Really helpful.

Spatz76 in reply to Ktomoph_

Haha no but I certainly didn't encourage them to change it once they realised. 😉

Ktomoph_ in reply to Spatz76

my brother has an induction hob so it certainly my very useful but pertinent excuse not to cook when we visit them!

It was actually my brother that raised the point when he realised that as he walked past the hob carrying his bike one day, the speedometer started working for a few seconds, registering a speed of 30!!

But, all in all I am still, to this day in awe of this little bit of(expensive!) technological kit! Just wonderful!