Many people with implantable defibrillators can participate in vigorous sports

Many people with implantable defibrillators can safely participate in vigorous sports according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in the chest is somewhat similar to a pacemaker, delivering one or more electrical shocks to restore a normal heartbeat when it detects a dangerous rhythm.

Some science recommendations advise people with ICDs not to participate in competitive sports more vigorous than golf or bowling.

"But these recommendations were based on the best judgment of physicians, not actual data looking at the safety of more rigorous sports," said Rachel Lampert, M.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

Researchers followed 372 ICD recipients, ages 10-60, for an average of two-and-a-half years each. They included competitive athletes, high school and college athletes and others who participated in vigorous sports such as running, basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, skiing and snowboarding.

In this prospective multinational registry, researchers found that although some athletes received shocks during sports for life-threatening and non-life-threatening heart rhythms, there were no injuries or deaths related to the shocks or the underlying abnormal rhythms.

Seventy-seven people received 121 shocks during the study. Of the total study population:

  • 10 percent received shocks while participating in competition or practice.
  • 8 percent received shocks during other physical activities.
  • 6 percent received shocks while resting.

The rate of shocks among those studied was similar to those reported in previous studies for less active people with implantable defibrillators, Lampert said.

These data suggest that athletes should decide, with their physicians, whether to return to vigorous sports after discussing their specific situation and preferences, Lampert said.

Provided by American Heart Association

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

With kids in school, parents can work out

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Back-to-school time provides an opportunity for parents to develop an exercise plan that fits into the family schedules, an expert suggests.

Obama offers new accommodations on birth control

17 hours ago

The Obama administration will offer a new accommodation to religious nonprofits that object to covering birth control for their employees. The measure allows those groups to notify the government, rather than their insurance ...

Use a rule of thumb to control how much you drink

18 hours ago

Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption, even for men with a higher body mass index. That's the finding of a new Iowa State and Cornell University ...

User comments