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Journal Article


Conti JB, Woodard DA, Tucker KJ, Bryant B, King LC, Curtis AB. Pacing Clin. Electrophysiol. 1997; 20(9 Pt 1): 2200-2204.


Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610, USA.


(Copyright © 1997, John Wiley and Sons)






Driving habits among recipients of ICDs have not been well characterized previously, yet such information may have implications for development of national policy. This study was undertaken to characterize driving behavior after defibrillator implantation in our patient population. From 1988-1993, 82 ICDs were implanted at the University of Florida. All patients received defibrillator teaching preoperatively and postoperatively with particular emphasis placed on driving restrictions. A standardized questionnaire was developed to ascertain driving behavior, compliance with restrictions, and occurrence of motor vehicle accidents following implantation. The patients were divided into two groups according to whether or not they had received a shock from their device since implantation. Group I patients did, and Group II patients did not. Fifty-two out of 82 (63%, Group I) patients had at least one shock. The remaining 30 patients had received no shocks. Mean age and gender were no different between the two groups. Mean time since implantation was 6 +/- 1.3 years in Group I, compared to 4 +/- 1.5 years in Group II (P = 0.001). Forty-seven out of 52 (90%) and 26 out of 30 (87%) in Groups I and II, respectively, resumed driving after defibrillator implantation. There was no difference in the amount of time that passed prior to resumption of driving. Group I patients drove more, 20.5 +/- 27 miles/day compared to patients in Group II, 8.3 +/- 9.7 miles/day (P = 0.02). No patient experienced device discharge during driving; likewise, no patient was involved in a motor vehicle accident secondary to their device firing. Sixty-seven out of 82 (82%) patients complied with the instructions they thought they heard; seven patients in Group I and eight patients in Group II deliberately did not follow our advice. The majority of patients do comply with physician instructions, although the instructions they remember are not always the instructions given. If a national policy is created to prohibit driving after ICD implantation, effective enforcement may be difficult.

Language: en


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