Glossary Entry: Intra-aortic Balloon Pump


Definition: An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a mechanical device used to support the heart’s pumping function and increase blood flow to the coronary arteries. It is commonly employed in the management of cardiac conditions, particularly during high-risk cardiac procedures and in cases of cardiogenic shock.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: IABPs come in various sizes and models to accommodate different patient anatomies and specific clinical needs. These variations may include different balloon sizes or shapes, as well as variations in the catheter design for insertion.


Common Uses: The IABP is commonly used in scenarios such as acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, acute heart failure, and perioperative support during cardiac surgeries.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The correct insertion and placement of the IABP involve careful positioning of the catheter tip in the descending aorta, typically using the Seldinger technique. Precise positioning is crucial for optimal functioning of the device and to minimize potential complications.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with IABP use include vascular injury, balloon rupture, aortic dissection, and thrombocytopenia. Close monitoring and prompt intervention are necessary to address these risks.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Proper care and maintenance of the IABP involve regular monitoring of balloon function, assessment of insertion site integrity, and adherence to sterile techniques to prevent infections.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: In conjunction with the IABP, related devices such as arterial pressure monitoring systems and external counterpulsation devices may be used to provide comprehensive hemodynamic support.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in IABP technology include the use of fiber-optic sensors for more accurate pressure measurements and advanced algorithms for precise timing of balloon inflation and deflation.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use of IABPs is subject to regulatory standards and safety guidelines to ensure their safe and effective implementation in clinical practice.