Intra-aortic (heart) balloon pump

The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. The “intra-aortic balloon pump” is a long thin balloon. It is placed in the aorta and helps control blood flow.

The aorta carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body. The balloon pump pushes some of the oxygenated blood back to the arteries that supply the heart muscle. The balloon pump helps the heart to pump more efficiently.

The balloon pump is inserted by using a long tube called a “catheter”. A small cut is made in an artery in the groin area. The catheter is inserted into the groin artery. It is then guided through the groin artery all the way up to the aorta. The balloon pump is activated when the catheter reaches the right place in the aorta.

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This topic was reviewed by an intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.

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