Intra-aortic Balloon Pumping (IABP)

What is intra-aortic balloon pumping?

Intra-aortic balloon pumping is a temporary emergency measure to help the heart pump more blood and improve blood flow to the heart.

What is an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP)?

An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a device that provides the assistance to the heart.

How does the IABP work?

The IABP includes a large tube inserted through a catheter into an artery in the groin area (femoral artery). The tube is then passed into the aorta. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body and the first blood vessel leading from the heart to the body. Once in place, the IABP tube is attached to a balloon pump machine. The balloon pump machine pumps special air into the tube, causing the balloon on the tube to inflate and deflate at specific times during a heart beat. The inflation helps push blood forward into the body and also backward into the heart's blood vessels. The pumping action helps both the body and the heart get more blood.

How long is an IABP used?

Usually only a short time. The IABP is typically a temporary measure used to stabilize a patient while waiting either for surgery or for the heart to regain function after a heart attack, procedure or surgery.

Does intra-aortic balloon pumping hurt?

Patients with an intra-aortic balloon pump usually feel little to no discomfort. However if patients experience discomfort, pain medications are given.

Are there any potential complications associated with intra-aortic balloon pumping?

There are extensive potential complications associated with intra-aortic balloon pumping, some of which are very serious. These are best discussed with your doctor or nurse.

Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP)

Intra-aortic balloon pump (IAPB)