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

by 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.