Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
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 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:
What are the risks?
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.