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Intra-aortic Balloon Pump Therapy (6733)

Intra-aortic Balloon Pump Therapy (6733) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Cardiology, Cardiovascular Surgery


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
it should.
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
of time.
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

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 3/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6733