Intra-aortic Balloon Pump Therapy
What is a Balloon Pump?
ξ It is a device used to increase the blood to the
ξ The balloon is placed in the aorta. The aorta
is the artery leading away from the heart.
ξ The balloon inflates between heart
contractions. This pushes blood through the
arteries and supplies the heart muscle with
more oxygen and blood.
ξ The balloon pump does not beat for the heart.
The heart must still beat for itself.
When is it used?
ξ It is used when the heart receives too little
oxygen, as in a heart attack.
ξ It is also used when the heart is too weak to
pump blood on its own.
During the procedure
ξ The balloon is placed in a lab by a heart
doctor. The patient will be sedated.
ξ The doctor will insert the deflated balloon
through an artery in the leg.
ξ The balloon is advanced until it is just
outside the heart.
While the balloon is in place
ξ The patient remains in bed with the head of
the bed flat. This will keep the leg straight
and allow the balloon to inflate and deflate as
ξ The patient can resume eating while the
balloon pump is in if it is okay with the
ξ It is not painful when the balloon inflates, but
it is normal to feel some pain in the leg
where the balloon is inserted.
ξ The patient should tell a nurse or doctor if he
or she has chest pain or heaviness, or any
numbness or pain in the leg.
ξ Sometimes the machine will sound alarms.
These alarms alert the nurse to a problem
with the machine or a change in the patient.
The nurse will check both the machine and
patient with any alarm.
Removal of the Balloon
ξ The balloon pump is used for short amounts
ξ It is removed when the heart is able to pump
enough blood on its own. This is most often
after a few days, but may be longer.
ξ It is removed by a doctor in the ICU.
ξ After the balloon is removed, the patient has
to stay in bed for a few hours so the nurse
can watch for any bleeding.
ξ The doctor will decide when the patient can
be out of bed.
Reid, M.B. & Cottrell, D. (2005). Nursing care of patients receiving intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation. Critical
Care Nurse, 25: 40-49
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this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 3/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
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