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British Heart Foundation
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Quick question.

Is it safe to pick my Grandsons up from school they are 8 and 6yrs, and drive them back to my home once a week (about 6 miles). My Son has asked me to help out which l am happy to do but in my head l am worried what would happen if my heart gave out with such precious cargo on board. l have a normal pacemaker no defib, and AVR. All scans on both are good and my Consultant has never warned me against this lm just a bit worried. Thanks, Sue.

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Everybody's life is equally precious! You need to get the OK from your GP and inform the DVLA - not doing so could lead to a large fine. It sounds as if you should be fine - some HGV and PSV drivers have pacemakers.

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Thanks so much for your reply, l already have the OK from DVLA. l drive all the time but this would be the first time kids were in my car with me having sole charge. l expect its me being silly thinking lm going to have a heart attack at the wheel, l don't have a heart condition just a AVR and the other valves repaired brought on by sepsis and endocarditis destroying them. l worry if l pulled over because l was unwell and passed out, the kids are so young they wouldn't know what to do, maybe lm meeting trouble halfway my last operation was 02/17. l have just ordered a medical alert bracelet hopefully that will give me some peace of mind. Sue.

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It sounds as though it's only you who needs to be persuaded you are safe to drive. Have you talked to your son about it? If he is happy (knowing your concerns) and the DVLA and your doctor are happy, then it's really down to you to decide. Personally I feel like you'd be fine, but I understand your anxiety and think you need to do what you are most comfortable with x

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Thanks Laura, wise words as usual mate! Thanks, Sue x

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Hi, sorry if the first line of my response came over as slightly aggressive. I was not aware that you had been given the OK to drive and informed the DVLA. Over the years I have come across people who should no longer be driving for various health/age reasons. I even encountered someone driving a minibus who was over 70 (minibus and other classes are automatically removed at 70 and have to be applied for separately with the person meeting stricter requirements. In fact being on the cardiac radar you are probably safer than many with undiagnosed heart disease and other conditions. So go ahead and pick up your grandkids every week. What I would say is do not allow yourself to be pushed into driving if you do not feel up to it for some reason; be it that you feel unwell or tired, or that you are not happy about the driving conditions (e.g. longer than usual drive, motorways, whatever).

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Thanks, my medical alert bracelet will be here next week so l will start doing the school run then. lt will give me peace of mind. Take care, Sue.

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Being blunt ..... it’s safe for you to drive on your own. So, why would it not be safe for you to drive with passengers, regardless of their age. If your car has the correct safety seats in it there is no reason whatever why you cannot ferry your grandchildren around.

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I think it is lovely you are so concerned about your precious cargo but if everyone, including your son, is happy for you to drive them then go enjoy all the time you can with those Grandkids.

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Hi kefalonia, I went through exactly this predicament 5 months ago after a. Sudden onset of af and tachycardia, which meant taking meds which took a while to get used to. I used to pick up grandkids 2/3 times a week, I, like you felt a tremendous sense of responsibility as they were only 6. I decided that I would do the odd pick up when no one else could, especially on very cold days, ( son in Law works from home), and that is usually a couple of times a month. However I now feel fine about ferrying them around, think what you feel is completely normal. I think this is a good point you have raised as it shows how heart probs creep into daily life.

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I was born with a heart condition and have a pacemaker and ICD and have worked with 3 - 5s and pre teens and 3 - 11 yrs and it never hurt my heart health so I guess it’s safe. I have ran around wiv kids often and lead physical play which due to exercise fears I stuggled leading but got there. I’m a nursery nurse and the onli issues my heart condition gave me was freaking out I was doing too much but my cardiologist said I wasn’t doing enough physically.

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