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Question:

Is it advisable to wait a few months to have my ICD implanted?

I had a heart attack in late June in China, where I teach English. Unfortunately, a doctor here now says that I have a ventricular premature beat. She is going to hospitalize me for a week and treat me with amiodarone. If that medicine does not correct the problem, she says I will need an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator put in my chest. If I must have a defibrillator put in, I cannot have that done until January or February after I return to America. Is it advisable to wait that long to have the implant? Thanks.   

submitted by Jerry from Nanyang, Henan, China on 10/27/2013

Answer:

Mohammad Saeed, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Mohammad Saeed, MD    

Timing of an ICD implant depends mainly on severity of the heart problem and presence of arrhythmia. If you have moderate to severe congestive heart failure or have suffered from life threatening arrhythmia such as ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF), then ICD implant should be done right away.  If you are asymptomatic and have not suffered from VT or VF, it may be OK to defer ICD implant for a few months while waiting for medications to strengthen the heart.

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Updated November 2013
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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