table below lists electrical and magnetic sources that are safe and sources
that you should avoid. This table does not list all magnetic or electrical
sources that you might use. Ask your doctor about the safety of sources not
Safety guidelines for ICDs
Stay away from:
CB or ham radios.
High-voltage power lines. Stay at least
25 ft (7.5 m) away.
MRI machines. An MRI uses a magnetic
field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures
inside the body.
Use with caution:
Do not carry a cell phone in a pocket directly
over the pacemaker or ICD.
Hold the phone to the ear on the side away from
Keep a phone at least
6 in. (15 cm) away from the
pacemaker or ICD.
Keep the following devices at least
12 in. (30.5 cm) away from the
pacemaker or ICD:
Battery-powered cordless power tools
Industrial power generators
Magnetic wands used at airports
Radio transmitters (including those used in
Safe to use:
Kitchen and bathroom equipment:
Bathroom appliances (electric razors, curling
irons, and hair dryers)
Kitchen appliances (such as toasters, blenders,
electric can openers, and refrigerators)
Microwave, gas, and electric ovens
Other household items:
Electric tools (such as drills and table
Lawn and garden equipment (such as mowers and
Heating pads and electric blankets
Washing machines and dryers
Phones (landline phones including cordless
TVs, VCRs, CD players, DVD players
Know when you can drive again
Driving is something else you need to think about if
you have an ICD. Talk to your doctor about whether you should restrict your
driving. Your doctor will check your medical history and review your risk of
having another arrhythmia that could make driving unsafe. To help doctors with
this decision, the American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society
recommend the following driving restrictions:1, 2
If you get an ICD because you are at risk for a
life-threatening arrhythmia (but have never had one), you should not drive for
at least 1 week afterward to allow time to heal. After you heal, you can drive
again as long as your ICD has never given you a shock and you have no symptoms
of an arrhythmia. But keep in mind that an arrhythmia could cause you to pass
out (lose consciousness).
If you get an ICD because you have already had a
life-threatening arrhythmia, you should wait at least 6 months before you drive
If you have an ICD that has given you a shock for an
arrhythmia, you should wait at least 6 months before you drive again.