Should I Stop Exercising If I Receive A Shock From My Defibrillator?

Question: Should I stop exercising if I receive a shock from my defibrillator?

Answer: If you receive a shock from your defibrillator while you're exercising, I would certainly stop exercising at that moment and have the device interrogated to see whether the exercise caused a lethal rhythm or whether with exercise your heart rate just got so high that the device interpreted the high heart rate as a lethal rhythm and applied a shock.

So, certainly if you have an event where during exercise the device goes off, I would stop exercise at that moment. I would hold off on that level of exercise until you've seen your doctor, had the device interrogated to sort out whether the device is working properly or whether perhaps you should have a different medication to keep your heart rate from going so high.

In some cases, we have to restrict exercise as well, but that's the last resort from my perspective. I'd rather work around a patient's desire to continue exercising and see if through programming the device or with other medical therapy, we can allow an ongoing exercise regimen and also have safe protection from the device and have it not go off for inappropriate reasons.

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