Skip to Content
Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a mechanical device
that helps the heart pump blood.
This device is inserted into the aorta, the body's largest artery. It is a long, thin
tube called a catheter with a balloon on the end of it. If you are hospitalized, your doctor may insert an IABP. Your doctor will
numb an area of your leg and thread the IABP through the femoral artery in your
leg into your aorta. He or she then positions the IABP at the center of your
aorta, below your heart.
The doctor will use an X-ray machine
during this procedure to help accurately position the IABP.
An IABP might be used to stabilize a person who is in the hospital for acute mitral valve regurgitation or severe heart failure.
An IABP is only used for a short period of time
(hours to days). A long-term treatment will likely be needed, such as valve surgery or the insertion of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).
The IABP reduces the workload
on your heart, allowing your heart to pump more blood. The IABP
is placed inside your aorta, the artery that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The balloon on the end of the catheter inflates
and deflates with the rhythm of your heart. This helps your heart pump blood to the body.
The IABP improves the function
of only your left ventricle, since this is the chamber that pumps blood into
your aorta. Here's how an IABP works:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologySpecialist Medical ReviewerStephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as ofJanuary 27, 2016
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.