ZocdocAnswersShould I not run if I have a pacemaker?

Question

Should I not run if I have a pacemaker?

Is there a possible risk in impact sports?

Answer

The answer to this question depends on so many factors, that I will not be able to give you a straight answer. I will say that the vast majority of people that have pacemakers or internal cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) can run as much as they tolerate it. I will also say that most electrophyiologists (the type of cardiologist that places pacemakers) would discourage impact sports. The answer to the running question depends on a few factors. The first question is why you got the pacemaker in the first place. Does the heart condition you have make strenuous activity dangerous? Second, some pacemakers also have the feature of defibrillation if your heart were to stop or start beating at an unsafe fast rate. This is basically a function where your device is set to give you an electrical shock if it thinks you are in trouble. The computer is sometimes set to fire when your heart rate reaches a certain point. If you are young, and your heart can reach very fast rates during exercise, you may receive an inappropriate shock. You need to schedule an appointment with your electrophysiologist (cardiologist). This is a question that he or she will be able answer. In addition, you should learn whether your pacemaker is also an ICD, which is important to know. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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