Doctors often recommend implantable cardiac defibrillators for persons who suffer from cardiac irregularities, including cardiac arrhythmia. However, a new study finds that these implants are linked to an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.
The study finds that persons who have these cardiac devices implanted run a 51% higher chance of being involved in a car accident, compared to people of a similar age who are not implanted with such devices.
This is not the first time that a study has pointed to the possible increased accident risks associated with people who have implantable cardiac devices. Other studies have also shared similar concerns. In one such study, researchers speculated that the devices could be linked to a higher risk of accidents either because of an episode of cardiac arrhythmia while driving, and/or the start of the device while driving.
The device works by delivering an electric current to the heart muscles in order to get it beating regularly again, when it detects an irregularity. That electrical current could actually interfere with a person’s ability to focus on the task of driving.
To be fair, the researchers are not suggesting a driving ban for anyone implanted with one of these devices. A ban on driving for these persons would actually lead to depression and trauma, exacerbating any health concerns. In fact, the American College of Cardiology has different guidelines for people who have suffered a secondary prophylaxis as well as a primary prophylaxis. In laymen term, a secondary prophylaxis involves a person who has lost consciousness as a result of cardiac irregularity, while a primary prophylaxis involves patients for whom these devices are recommended, but who do not have any history of passing out or a history of prior cardiac arrest.
The American College of Cardiology recommends that patients who have an implantable device for primary prevention avoid driving a car for up to a week after implantation, while patients who have devices for secondary prevention avoid driving for six months after the implantation. The American College of Cardiology also recommends a permanent restriction driving for commercial drivers who have these implantable devices, whether for primary or secondary prevention.
It’s also important to understand that persons who have not suffered an episode of heart attack or episode of loss of consciousness as a result of cardiac arrhythmias are actually allowed to drive just a week after receiving the cardiac device. This could be one of the reasons for the high number of patients found to have an elevated accident risk after receiving a cardiac implant. These persons do not fall in the high-risk category of secondary prophylaxis sufferers, and therefore, do not have strict restrictions on their driving privileges, even though their driving abilities may be compromised after receiving the implant.
When a person has any kind of surgical procedure, it’s important they speak to their doctor about any driving restrictions that may apply.
The Indiana serious personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in serious accidents across Indiana. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an accident caused by another driver, contact our attorneys right away. Indiana has strict time limitations on your ability to file a claim to recover expenses incurred. Call our firm, today.