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Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP)

Apr 06, 2017

Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP)

First used in the 1960s, intra-aortic balloon pump is an artificial device that improves the delivery of blood to the tissues of the body a process known as perfusion and was created by Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz. Basically, it is a mechanical device that aids the heart in its function of pumping blood to the other parts of the body. Intra-aortic balloon pump is made up of a thin, long pipe known as catheter with a balloon fitted at one end of the catheter while the other end is connected to a computer; the catheteralong with the balloon is then placed in the aorta i.e. the biggest artery in a person’s body. The intra-aortic balloon pump is inserted through an artery situated in the leg known as the femoral artery and then guided over to the aorta where it is placed.

Aorta is responsible for the delivery of deoxygenated blood from the body to the heart. In case of a faulty heart, the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently and to reduce the heart’s workload an intra-aortic balloon pump is inserted for a short period of time. The workload of the heart is reduced by almost 20% after the placement of the intra-aortic balloon pump.How it works is that with the movement of the heart, the balloon at the end of the catheter inflates or deflates thereby aiding in the pumping of the blood and supporting the functioning of the heart.

Intra-aortic balloon pump is usually used in patients who have recently undergone a complicated surgery or procedure like angioplasty. It is often also used in a patient who has recently suffered from a cardiac arrest and is awaiting a heart transplant.

Though very rare, placement of the intra-aortic balloon pump in a person’s body can lead to certain medical complications. Complications like an infection in the bloodstream or tearing up of the aortic walls may occur.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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