Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a skinny therapeutic device with a balloon which is inserted in the aorta. It helps to maintain the flow of blood to the heart and to the heart and in the body. IABP is usually used for the short term to give time for heart recovery or get a permanent treatment after a cardiogenic shock due to decreased blood pumping capacity.
This device assists the heart by inflating and deflating the balloon during contraction and relaxation of the heart. This device’s functioning cycle helps the heart pump sufficient blood to the body.
How is the Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Procedure Performed?
This procedure is used in cases of blood vessel blockage supplying blood to heart supplying blood to heart, especially those near the heart. The balloon catheter used in this procedure has two lumens—one allows for gas exchange from the console to the balloon, and the other lumen helps monitor the aortic pressure and guide the delivery of the catheter with the help of a guide wire.
The intra-aortic balloon can be inserted during heart surgery. In these cases, the patient cath lab given general anaesthesia before the procedure. Another way to insert this device is in the cath lab. In these cases, you will be given local anaesthesia and a relaxant to ease the catheter insertion.
If the balloon catheter is inserted through the leg, the doctor will make a small punture or cut on the inner side of the thigh. One end of the catheter, along with the balloon, will be inserted into the artery. Then the catheter will be moved towards the aorta with the help of an X-ray machine. This machine and a guiding wire will continuously guide the healthcare professional throughout the process.
The other end of the catheter will be attached to a computer console to guide the inflation and deflation of the balloon. This end of the catheter is secured at the place, and you will be advised not to move your leg to prevent the change in positioning.
The device shrinks when the heart pumps so that blood can be pumped to the rest of the body. When the heart relaxes, the balloon becomes inflated, so more blood is retained in the heart increasing blood supply to the weak heart making it work more efficiently.
Most of the time this device is used as an emergency procedure. Many times this is used in a more elective manner before definitive procedure is carried out.
IABP Procedure Type
Preparation for the Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Procedure
Before performing the procedure, a detailed patient history is required to know any underlying medical conditions, any history of complications during anaesthesia, symptoms of infection, including fever, and if you are pregnant.
All the vital signs are monitored before and during the complete procedure.
Your doctor will inform you regarding the detailed procedure. You may share your concerns with your healthcare provider.
You should refrain from eating and drinking anything from the night before the procedure is scheduled.
The aortic balloon can't help patients with aortic valve defects, aortic aneurysms, , and heart defects.
Your healthcare professional might advise you to undergo a few tests before the procedure, including a blood profile, electrocardiogram and chest X-ray.
Follow up After IABP Procedure
This procedure is recommended in cases of cardiogenic shock when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body and cannot retain enough blood in its chambers. The underlying causes of cardiogenic shock can be heart muscle weakness after a heart attack or an arrhythmia. This arrhythmia causes regular heart contraction and myocardial failure, which reduces the performance of heart muscles.
You must be under observation for the time you have an intra-aortic balloon pump inserted in your aorta. The healthcare professional will examine the heart function after some days without support from IABP. If the heart functions fine, the healthcare professional will decide to remove the balloon pump. They will give some medication to relax the body for easy removal of the catheter. After the catheter is removed, the incision on the leg will be stitched up or the puncture site is secured.
Risks Factors of Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
IABP is a lifesaving procedure but is also associated with risks, including:
Injury to the artery while inserting the balloon into the aorta.
Balloon rupture and gas release.
Deviation in the positioning of the balloon can injure the kidneys or other internal organs.
Infection during or after inserting the catheter into the body.
Ischemia in legs due to damage to leg blood vessels during insertion of this device.
Smoking and drinking increase the risk of complications associated with the procedure.
Recovery After IABP
Recovery after removing IABP is sometimes associated with complications requiring medical attention. If the patient has a peripheral vascular disease, there is always a risk of bleeding or limb ischaemia when the device is inserted in the aorta.
Immediate attention is required in case of swelling and redness around the incision site. If the patient has a fever, that might be a symptom of infection. Heart palpitations, increased shortness of breath, and swelling in the feet, especially around the ankles, are worrisome. These conditions should be reported immediately.
Once the procedure is completed, you are advised to stay in bed while keeping your head slightly elevated. Usually, the balloon pump is retained in the aorta for a few days, but it may expend for a month or even more. The IABP is a quick process and is removed from the body as soon as your heart resumes functioning better after or any permanent treatment modality has been implemented.
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