Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP)
The Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a mechanical device that improves ventricular performance of a failing heart by facilitating an increase in myocardial oxygen supply and a decrease in myocardial oxygen demand. The IABP consists of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. Attached to the tip of the catheter is a long balloon. This is called an intra-aortic balloon, or IAB. The other end of the catheter attaches to a computer console. This console has a mechanism for inflating and deflating the balloon at the proper time during the cardiac cycle. The balloon is set to inflate when the heart relaxes (during diastole). The inflated balloon pushes blood flow back toward the coronary arteries and improves coronary perfusion which ultimately provide more oxygen and nutrients to the heart. When the heart contracts (during systole), the balloon deflates creating a slight vacuum which allows the heart to pump more blood out to the body while using less energy, thereby reducing overall ventricular workload.
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