Cardiology In Critical

Intra Aortic Balloon Pump

Patient Information

Your heart is a muscular pump with a demanding job. It must continually pump blood to every part of your body. The blood supplies oxygen, the fuel needed to support your body tissues and their functions.

Once your body’s tissues have taken the oxygen they need, the oxygen-depleted blood is returned to the two chambers on the right side of your heart. These chambers are responsible for pumping the oxygen-depleted blood into the lungs. In the lungs the blood is replenished with a fresh supply of oxygen and returned to the left side of your heart.

On the left side of your heart, two chambers are responsible for pumping the newly-oxygenated blood throughout your body once again. This oxygen-rich blood leaves your heart through the largest artery in your body, the aorta.

Of course, your heart needs its own continuous supply of fuel. This supply line of oxygen-rich blood begins a the base of the aorta, and surrounds your heart muscle in the same way the fingers of your hand wrap around a ball. This network of supply lines is called your coronary arteries.

When the heart does not have enough oxygen due to blocked coronary arteries, or other medical problems, the heart must work harder to provide the needed oxygen. Intra-aortic balloon pump therapy helps restore the balance between the supply of oxygen-rich blood the heart receives from the coronary arteries, and the amount of oxygen the heart needs to pump.

This therapy involves two components. One is a thin balloon which is positioned within your aorta after being introduced through an artery. The second component of balloon pump therapy is the pump itself. The pump continually inflates and deflates the balloon within your aorta in time with your heart beat.

The intra-aortic balloon pump assists your heart during both its rest phase and its work phase. In the rest phase, the balloon inflates, increasing the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the coronary arteries. In the work phase, the balloon deflates, decreasing the workload on your heart.

The decrease in workload results in a decrease in the amount of oxygen the heart needs to pump.

As blood is pumped, your heart is at work.
During the work phase, your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood into the aorta and out to the far reaches of your body. This task requires a large amount of oxygen. At the end of each work phase your heart has used up a large portion of the oxygen it has been given.

As chambers fill, your heart is at rest.
Your heart is in its rest phase as the chambers are filling, preparing to pump more blood. During this phase your heart muscle is able to relax. While it is resting, it is receiving a fresh supply of oxygen-rich blood through your coronary arteries.

When the balloon deflates, your heart’s workload is reduced.
Just before your heart gets ready to work, the balloon within your aorta deflates. This deflation results in a drop in pressure in the aorta, so that when your heart pumps it doesn’t have to work against high pressure. Instead, your heart’s workload is actually reduced, and blood is pumped throughout your body more easily.

When the balloon inflates, your heart receives more oxygen.
When your heart is in its rest phase, and receiving its fresh supply of blood, the balloon placed within your aorta is inflated by the pump at your bedside. This process pushes more oxygen-rich blood through your coronary artery supply network and into your heart’s muscle tissue, providing your tired heart with extra energy for its work phase.

Help us help you by keeping calm and making us aware of any changes in your condition.

Cough and deep breathe frequently

Report any chest pain or heaviness to a nurse or physician.

Report any pain, numbness, or tingling to a nurse or physician.

Bed rest is important…
Don’t sit up, attempt to get out of bed, or flex or bend the leg in which the balloon catheter is inserted, as these activities can interfere with the proper functioning of the balloon.

Don’t be concerned when the balloon pump stops, because your heart is continuously beating for itself. At pre-programmed intervals, the balloon pump will stop pumping for a brief period of time. Your heart will continue pumping. And remember too, that a nurse or health care professional trained in the operation of the balloon pump will be monitoring the machine throughout your period of therapy.

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