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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: Intraaortic Balloon Pump - impella device

 jazzmynn - Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:49 pm

My husband has a blockage in his mammary artery due to a surgeon stitching it 70% shut durung a cabg.

His heart has incurred some damage because of decreased blood flow, and his cardiologist said it was risky to try and repair.

Now, there is a new piece of equipment that will keep my husband's heart beating for up to 5 days after the procedure of trying to open up the artery. It is supposedly called the intaaortic balloon pump or impella device.

What do you know about it and is it safe?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:00 pm

User avatar Hello -

The intra-aortic baloon pump counterpulsation device sounds like it may be just the ticket for this situation, assuming your husband hasn't had any valve replacements nor any other contraindications to use of the pump.

The device, inserted via the femoral artery and moved up into the aorta, pulsates
in place, reducing the workload on the heart for given periods of time (five days is certainly within the window of utility for it). A ballon is inserted into the aorta at the end of a catheter connected to a pump outside the entry point near the groin (into the femoral artery). When the heart pumps blood out (systole) the baloon deflates, then when the heart rests between beats, the baloon inflates (counterpulsation) to help force the blood along without the heart having to do all the work. Five days of this should fit the requirements of this repair surgery in most cases.

The possible complications are few, and include its partial presence in the femoral artery which can cause compartment syndrome, which, at least in theory (and in a very few real cases) can cause mild to severe injury to the leg itself. This is still a relatively small risk vs the benefits of the pump, and a rare complication. Other possible complications include formation of an embolism while the device is being put in place, and embolization upon removal. Needless to say these problems are thoroughly addressed, so this risk is relatively small.

I hope this explanation makes sense and that this will be considered as an adjunct to surgical repair for your husband. It sounds promising to me.

Best of luck to you. Please let us know how things work out.

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