Intra-aortic balloon cardiac assist: Complication rates for the surgical and percutaneous insertion techniques

J. J. Curtis, M. Boland, D. Bliss, J. Walls, T. Boley, R. Schmaltz, G. Flaker, S. K. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A retrospective study was performed to evaluate complications with the two most common intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) insertion techniques. During a nine year period, 202 patients (51 women, 151 men) underwent IABP cardiac assist utilizing the arteriotomy surgical (103 balloons) and percutaneous (99 balloons) insertion techniques. Complications, including asymptomatic loss of pedal pulse, vascular-symptomatic, infection, or balloon rupture occurred in 22.8 per cent of patients. Of the 54 complications, 13 (24%) were asymptomatic loss of pedal pulse, 36 (66.7%) were vascular symptomatic, three (5.5%) were infection, and two (3.7%) were balloon malfunctions. The overall complication rates were 16/103 (15.5%) and 38/99 (38.3%) for the surgical and percutaneous methods, respectively (P = 0.007). Thirty two per cent (33/103) of the patients receiving IABP surgically and 24 per cent (24/99) of those receiving IABP percutaneously died in the hospital (P = 0.34); no death was directly attributable to IABP. The number of patients requiring surgical intervention or removal was not significantly different between the surgical and percutaneous methods (9 versus 18%, P = .06). While the method of IABP insertion did not significantly alter hospital mortality, a significantly greater complication rate was observed with percutaneous insertion (P = .007). This was particularly relevant to complications occurring at the time of removal of IABP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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