Having Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Therapy
 
 

Having Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Therapy

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Having Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Therapy

An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a type of therapeutic device. It helps your heart pump more blood. You may need it if your heart is unable to pump enough blood for your body. In many cases, this procedure is done through a small cut on the inside of your upper leg. Your healthcare provider will insert the balloon pump catheter into an artery in your leg. He or she will then guide it to your aorta.

What to tell your healthcare provider

Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if:

  • You are pregnant or think you might be pregnant

  • You have other health conditions

  • You have ever had a problem with medicine to help you relax (sedation)

  • You have new symptoms, such as a fever

Getting ready for your procedure

Before your procedure, your healthcare provider will give you detailed instructions. If you smoke, you should stop before your procedure. You may also need to stop taking any medicines, vitamins, or other supplements. You may also be given some new medicine to take before and during the treatment. This may include medicine to help prevent blood clots.

On the day of your procedure

IABP therapy may be done during another type of heart surgery. In an emergency, a medical team may insert it at your bedside.

Each person’s procedure can vary. Your healthcare provider can tell you how yours will be done. In general, you can expect:

  • You’ll be given anesthesia. If you are having the procedure during surgery, you may already be under general anesthesia. In that case, you will be asleep and won’t feel anything. In other cases, you may receive medicine to help you relax. You will also get numbing medicine at the insertion site.

  • During the procedure, your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs will be watched.

  • The surgeon will make a small cut through an artery in the upper part of your inner thigh. The balloon catheter will be inserted there.

  • The surgeon will gently push the catheter to a part of the aorta in your chest. He or she will use continuous X-ray imaging to track movement of the catheter.

  • The balloon will be programmed to inflate with helium when your heart relaxes. It will deflate when your heart contracts

  • The surgeon will secure the end of the catheter, so it stays in place.

You may feel some chest pain after the procedure. It should go away within minutes of starting the IABP. If you are still having symptoms, you may need more treatment.

After your procedure

You may need to have the pump for several days. Your healthcare provider will monitor you. He or she may turn the pump off for a short time to see how your heart responds. Or he or she may set it to inflate and deflate with only every 2nd or 4th heartbeat. When your heart pumps well on its own, you may be ready to stop the IABP therapy. Or, you may stop the therapy when another treatment becomes available, such as a donated heart.

When it is time to remove the pump, you will likely get medicine to help you relax. Your healthcare provider will then remove the catheter and the balloon through the incision in your leg. He or she will also close up the incision on your leg.

Your healthcare provider may give you more instructions. Follow these carefully to help increase your chance of a good outcome.