• Lead as normal a life as your underlying heart condition will allow.
  • Have your ICD “passport” (i.e. defibrillator identification card) with you at all times.
  • Take your medication as instructed, regularly.
  • Keep your hospital appointments for monitoring at the ICD clinic.
  • Consider wearing a MedicAlert (or similar) bracelet or necklace.
  • Avoid activities that could be dangerous if your ICD delivered a shock – e.g. cycling, skiing, horse-riding, climbing ladders or scaffolding, working on high unfenced platforms.
  • Only swim in company, or in the presence of a trained lifeguard.
  • Avoid heavy contact sports where damage could be caused to your ICD.
  • Avoid areas around strong electromagnetic fields – e.g. large transformers, speakers in large amplifier systems, arc-welding equipment.
  • Move quickly through security barriers at shop doorways – do not loiter between them.
  • Use the lift or stairs in supermarkets, or other places, that have inclined moving pavements that lock trolleys on to them.  The magnetic field that locks the trolley wheels could affect your ICD.
  • If you work, check your working environment with the health and safety officer.


  • Where possible let someone know where you are / are going, or leave a note of where / how you can be contacted.
  • Avoid being alone in uninhabited areas.
  • Carry a mobile phone.
  • Carry your mobile phone in a bag or pocket on the opposite side to your implant.
  • Use your mobile phone at your ear on the opposite side to your implant.
  • Store an emergency contact number (or numbers) on your mobile phone against the name ICE (or ICE-1, ICE-2, ICE-name) so that the emergency services will know that your ICE numbers are to be used In Case of Emergency.
  • If you change your plans, let those who care about you know - so that they do not get anxious about your non-return at the originally agreed time.


  • Let the DVLA know that you have an ICD and follow their instructions.
  • Seek the advice of your GP or consultant before embarking on overseas travel.
  • Consider your insurance needs carefully.  When buying insurance declare your condition accurately and honestly.  Don’t be too technical in describing your problem.  “Cardiac arrhythmia managed by drugs and a defibrillator” may be sufficient.
  • Obtain, and carry with you, a form E111, obtainable  from your local Post Office.
  • Consult the web sites, the ICD clinic staff, or a Support Group colleague, to obtain details of the capable clinic(s) closest to your destination, in case of need.
  • Avoid passing through the magnetic field of airport security scanners (the frames, or hand held wands).  Show your ICD card, say you have a pacemaker / defibrillator, and ask to be hand searched.  If a wand should be insisted upon – it should only be used from the waist downwards.
  • Carry an adequate supply of any drugs you may be taking to cover your time away from home – they may be difficult to get and expensive especially when you are abroad.

Whilst the Sutton ICD Support Group makes every effort to ensure accurate information,
we disclaim any legal responsibility for actions as a result of the contents of this page.