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Intra-aortic Balloon Counterpulsation Pump


An intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation pump (IABP) is a device that is used for a short time to help your heart work normally. It allows more blood to flow into your heart and more blood to be pumped out to your body.



  • Prescription pain medicine may be given to decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine. You may also need medicine to prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Your healthcare provider will need to check your IABP site. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Good nutrition for your heart:

Get enough calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to help prevent poor nutrition and muscle wasting. You may be told to eat foods low in cholesterol or sodium (salt). You also may be told to limit saturated and trans fats. Do eat foods that contain healthy fats, such as walnuts, salmon, and canola and soybean oils. Eat foods that help protect the heart, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and sources of fiber. Ask what a healthy weight is for you. Set goals to reach and stay at that weight.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk of having problems with your IABP. It also harms your heart, lungs, and blood. You are at increased risk for a heart attack, lung disease, and cancer if you smoke. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.

Contact your healthcare provider or cardiologist if:

  • You have shaking chills or a fever.
  • You have burning pain in the catheter site.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
    • and any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
  • Your foot or leg is cold, pale, has no feeling, or is painful.
  • The catheter site is bleeding, or it has pus or a bad smell coming from it.
  • Your catheter has started to come out, or has fallen all of the way out.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Intra-aortic Balloon Counterpulsation Pump (Discharge Care)

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