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Sexual Concerns After ICD Implantation

Sexual Concerns After ICD ImplantationHaving an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a big adjustment, and many couples worry whether sexual activity is safe.

An ICD is an implanted device that monitors your heart rate. If it detects an abnormal heartbeat (an arrhythmia), it sends an electrical shock to your heart to bring the situation back to normal.

After ICD surgery, couples may become less interested in sex, according to new research in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Scientists studied 301 couples in which one partner had received an ICD. Many couples were afraid that sex might trigger the ICD to fire. Others worried that cardiac arrest could occur during sex if the ICD did not fire as it should. Patients and partners often reported feeling overprotective.

About a month after the ICD surgery, couples started feeling a bit more relaxed about sexual activity. And by 12 months, couples were having sex more frequently than they had at the start of the study.

“Addressing concerns and physical limitations may ease patient and partner fears, thereby helping patients and partners feel ready to resume sexual activity,” the authors wrote.

If you’re concerned about sex and your heart, be sure to talk to your cardiologist.

Learn more:

Sex After Heart Attack – Is it Safe?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest During Sex Unlikely


American Heart Association

“Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)”

(Last reviewed: September 30, 2016)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Streur, Megan M., PhD, et al.

“Patient and Partner Sexual Concerns During the First Year After an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator: A Secondary Analysis of the P+P Randomized Clinical Trial”

(Full-text. Published online: March 18, 2020)