A mechanical pump placed in your aorta to help pump blood
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Certain heart conditions can make it difficult for your heart to pump enough blood through your body. Your doctor may recommend intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation therapy to help stabilize your heart if it needs extra support due to heart failure or a heart attack. A small mechanical pump can inflate a balloon placed within one of your coronary arteries to increase blood circulation.
What to expect during intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation
Your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink before the procedure. You will be given a sedative medication through an IV in your arm to help you relax. The doctor may use an echocardiogram to monitor your heart.
Your doctor will numb a small area on your thigh, where they will insert a catheter, which is a thin, flexible tube with a mechanically controlled balloon attached to it. The catheter is guided to the aorta using X-ray imaging for guidance. Once the balloon is in place, it will be programmed to inflate and deflate as your heart pumps to increase blood flow and blood oxygenation.
The counterpulsation therapy may be given over several days, during which time you will stay in the hospital for monitoring.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.