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Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

What is an intra-aortic balloon pump?

An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a mechanical device that helps the heart pump blood.

This device is inserted into the aorta, the body's largest artery. It is a long, thin tube called a catheter with a balloon on the end of it. If you are hospitalized, your doctor may insert an IABP. Your doctor will numb an area of your leg and thread the IABP through the femoral artery in your leg into your aorta. He or she then positions the IABP at the center of your aorta, below your heart.

The doctor will use an X-ray machine during this procedure to help accurately position the IABP.

Why is it used?

An IABP might be used to stabilize a person who is in the hospital for acute mitral valve regurgitation or severe heart failure.

An IABP is only used for a short period of time (hours to days). A long-term treatment will likely be needed, such as valve surgery or the insertion of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

How does it work?

The IABP reduces the workload on your heart, allowing your heart to pump more blood. The IABP is placed inside your aorta, the artery that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The balloon on the end of the catheter inflates and deflates with the rhythm of your heart. This helps your heart pump blood to the body.

The IABP improves the function of only your left ventricle, since this is the chamber that pumps blood into your aorta. Here's how an IABP works:

  1. After your left ventricle has finished contracting, the balloon inflates. This inflation helps increase blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body.
  2. As your left ventricle is about to pump out blood, the balloon deflates. This deflation creates extra space in the aorta, allowing the heart to pump out more blood. This decreases the workload on the heart.

What are the risks?


References

Other Works Consulted


Credits for Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump

Current as of: April 29, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery


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