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British Heart Foundation
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Will an ICD stop me pursuing an active lifestyle?


I am currently in one of the best hospitals in the U.K. - Manchester Royal Infirmary and have been here for 2 weeks having been admitted with a fast beating heart - suspected to be arythmia. After many tests and scans, where there is no apparent damage to my heart / arteries, no heart attack, it looks like I am head to have an ICD installed in the next couple of days.

I was wondering whether this will drastically affect my reasonably active lifestyle. What have been your positive and negative experiences, if you have had one fitted ?

Thanks ! Adam

5 Replies

Hi. I have an ICD fitted. It took a while to get used to, but now I don't really think about it at all. I go to the gym, I swim, I hula hoop, I tap dance and I walk a lot, all without any issues. Eventually you end up seeing your ICD as a safeguard that stands by in the background, not something that affects your day-to-day life. I'm confident mine will only shock me if I need it and I feel reassured by its presence. There are lots of threads here with people sharing their ICD love, will see if I can dig up a few links for you. Lots of luck :)

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And the BHF page about ICDs here - bhf.org.uk/heart-health/tre...

Hope these help. You'll see most people are very positive about their devices :)

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Hi Adam

I think the short answer to this is no, most likely it won't. I've seen many stories of people with ICDs cycling, playing sports (non contact for obvious reasons) and generally getting back to life as before but ....safer.

I've had an interesting time since my op though so I thought it was worth letting you know. A post on here helped me and I thought i'd share just in case you find yourself in the same position. Hopefully you won't but forewarned is forearmed.

After my op I was getting breathless just walking around, going short distances and walking upstairs. This got worse when beta blockers were introduced into the mix. I got something called rate response applied to my ICD which has helped greatly and stopped my breathlessness I feel back to my old self again. The moral of the story is the pacemaker part of your ICD should be helping you to feel better, if its not, discuss your settings.

Here is the post that helped. healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

Good luck with your op. I am similar to you, I have a structurally normal heart and no artery problems but I have crazy arrhythmia. As such I had a very quick physical recovery from my op. Hopefully you will too and you get to go home very soon, I can imagine two weeks of hospital food has not been fun!

Give me a shout if you have any questions.

Spatz76 x


Hi Adam, I just wanted to let you know my husband had an ICD put in in 2015. He was very resistant to the idea and had to be talked into it as he had Dilated Cardiomyopathy as well as arrhythmia. I can honestly say that now he mostly forgets he has it. He works full time as a builder and leads a very physical life style and is very grateful to have it as it has paced numerous times but thankfully no shocks.


Hi Adam, I had one back in August I was worried at the time about how it might affect my lifestyle, it doesn’t it is there just to correct irregular rhythms only when required, Spatz and Laura’s info is good they they have been there and got the T shirt.

Best wishes



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