Severe intra-aortic balloon pump complications: A single-center 12-year experience

Luca Severi, Paola Vaccaro, Marco Covotta, Giovanni Landoni, Rosalba Lembo, Antonio Menichetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is used routinely in high-risk patients undergoing cardiac surgery to prevent or treat low-cardiac-output syndrome and to reduce perioperative mortality. The insertion and management of IABP carry the risk of major vascular complications. The authors reviewed their database to ascertain the incidence of IABP-related severe complications. Design: A retrospective study. Setting: A teaching hospital. Participants: Ten thousand three hundred sixty-five patients scheduled for elective or emergency cardiac surgery over a 12-year period at a single center. Interventions: Four hundred twenty-three patients received an IABP perioperatively. Careful preoperative screening for peripheral arterial disease, strict postoperative control, and the sheathless insertion technique to spare the arterial flow to the lower limb were performed routinely. Measurements and Main Results: The use of a perioperative IABP was 0.7% at the beginning of the observation period in 1999 and 7.3% in 2010, showing a fluctuating trend. Two patients (0.47%) died of direct complications, arterial wall damage and bleeding. Immediate surgical exploration and control of bleeding were followed by multiple-organ failure and death. Vascular complications, leading to lower-limb ischemia, occurred in 4 of 423 patients (0.94%). All of them underwent urgent vascular surgery and survived. Local sepsis occurred in 2 other patients (0.47%). Conclusions: These data indicate that an IABP is a valuable option in high-risk patients undergoing cardiac surgery even if not devoid of intrinsic risks for vascular complications (0.94%), septic complications (0.47%) and mortality (0.47%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-607
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • anesthesia
  • cardiac surgery
  • intensive care
  • intra-aortic ballon pump
  • mortality
  • vascular complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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