Home Cardiology Car Accident Risk Up 50 Percent for Patients With ICDs

Car Accident Risk Up 50 Percent for Patients With ICDs

Danish study finds 51 percent greater odds, but absolute risk of a crash remains low

MONDAY, Aug. 29, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) appear to have more car accidents than similarly-aged people without such devices, according to research presented at the annual European Society of Cardiology Congress, held from Aug. 27 to 31 in Rome.

Jenny Bjerre, M.D., a physician at Herlev and Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues tracked motor vehicle accident rates from early 2008 to mid-2012 for 4,874 Danish patients with ICDs and 9,748 Danes of similar age but without such devices. The average age was 63 years.

The researchers found that, overall, 280 traffic accidents occurred during the study period. Drivers with ICDs were 51 percent more likely to be involved in a traffic accident over the two-and-a-half years of the study. The absolute risk of a traffic accident to any one person in the study was low (1.0 to 1.4 percent within the first year after implantation), and there were no deaths noted.

“As physicians we need to take public road safety into consideration when we assess if these patients are medically fit to drive,” Bjerre told HealthDay. “But we also have to acknowledge that these restrictions have a huge impact on the patient’s quality of life and personal freedom.”

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