Intra-aortic balloon pump

An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a device to help decrease the workload of the heart and increase blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body. A balloon is attached to the end of a catheter and threaded up into the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart. Here, it is inflated and deflated in a regular sequence synchronized to a person's heart rhythm to provide the needed pressure to circulate blood.

An intra-aortic balloon pump is only used temporarily for emergency cardiac support conditions, such as after a heart attack, for severe heart failure, or while someone is waiting for heart surgery.

Last Updated: February 12, 2010

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