Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Insertion- Cardiology

Doctors: Cardiologist, Cardiac Surgeon

What is an intra-aortic balloon pump?

An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a long, skinny balloon, which helps to control the blood flow through the aorta. It helps the heart to pump more blood to rest of the body through aorta.

Who requires intra-aortic balloon pump insertion?

IABP is inserted during a cardiogenic shock when a patient’s heart is not able to pump enough blood required by the body. Various types of heart defects, heart failure, heart attack, unstable angina, or abnormal heart rhythms can cause cardiogenic shock.

The procedure:

Before the surgery, patient is given anesthesia. Patient is also given numbing medicine at the insertion site.  Throughout the procedure, patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs are monitored. A small incision is made through an artery in the upper part of the inner thigh. The balloon catheter is inserted in this incision. The catheter is advanced to a part of aorta in the chest, which is observe through a continuous X-ray imaging. The balloon would be programmed to inflate when the heart relaxes and it would deflate when the heart contracts. Once the balloon is in place, the end of the catheter is secured.

Patient would feel chest pain after the procedure. However, patient would feel the IABP once it is in the place. Chest pain generally goes away within minutes of starting the IABP.

What to expect after the procedure?

Patient is monitored for complications and will be required to stay in bed. The head of the bed should be slightly elevated. Patient should keep the leg with the catheter insertion straight. Daily chest X-rays would be done to make sure the device is still in the correct spot. The pump generally makes sounds as it cycles between inflation and deflation. If patient’s heart continues to pump well on its own, the IABP therapy might be stopped.  During the removal of the pump, patient is given medicine to feel relax. The catheter and the attached balloon is carefully removed. And the incision is closed. Patient would be required to visit doctor’s office for regular follow-up.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.