Features August 2015 Issue

Study: Exercising with an ICD Keeps You Fit Without Raising Shock Risk

Exercising with an ICD is possible without a higher risk of shocks.

Study: Exercising with an ICD Keeps You Fit Without Raising Shock Risk

Research suggests that not only can regular physical activity improve cardiovascular health without increasing the number of shocks, it may also help you live longer.

If you have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), you wouldn’t be alone in thinking that strenuous exercise is likely to trigger a shock to the heart. ICDs work by monitoring your heart rate and delivering a small electrical shock to the heart when an abnormal rhythm is detected. But recent research suggests that moderately strenuous activity can improve your cardiovascular health without increasing the number of device shocks. A study found that ICD patients who engaged in aerobics training followed by six months of home-based exercise attained greater cardiorespiratory fitness than a similar group of patients who received no special exercise training. The number of shocks were infrequent in both groups, with a slightly lower percentage of shocks occurring in the aerobics group.

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