What Should I Do If My Defibrillator Fires When I Am Driving?

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin answers the question: 'Driving When Defibrillator Fires?'

— -- Question: What should I do if my defibrillators fires when I am driving? What about during exercise?

Answer :Defibrillator firing during driving and during exercise are fortunately relatively rare events. If a defibrillator fires while someone is driving, the best thing to do is to get off the road when it is safe and possible to do so. The concern being that the individual may experience a recurrent arrhythmia and another shock. So my advice would be to 1) get off the road as soon as one can do so safely, and 2) to then call for help, because it would be inadvisable to continue to drive after an ICD shock because of concern about the possibility of a second arrhythmia and another shock shortly thereafter.

With regard to exercise, we recommend that obviously individuals who experience shocks during exercise stop exercising immediately and in both situations their devices should be interrogated by their physicians to determine the cause of the shocks and then to make changes if necessary in either their medications or their activity level.