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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.
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).
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:
Other Works ConsultedRihal CS, et al. (2015). 2015 SCAI/ACC/HFSA/STS Clinical expert consensus statement on the use of percutaneous mechanical circulatory support devices in cardiovascular care. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 65(19): e7–e26. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.03.036. Accessed July 18, 2016.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerDavid C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Current as ofDecember 6, 2017
Current as of: December 6, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD - 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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