Therapeutic efficacy of intraaortic balloon pump counterpulsation. Analysis with concurrent "control" subjects. Circulation DOWNING, T. P., Miller, D. C., Stinson, E. B., Burton, N. A., Oyer, P. E., Reitz, B. A., Jamieson, S. W., Shumway, N. E. 1981; 64 (2): II108-13


During a 7-year period, intraaortic balloon pumping (IABP) was attempted in 319 cardiac surgical patients. The indications for IABP were stringent and consisted of unsuccessful discontinuation of cardiopulmonary bypass (39%), anticipated failure (40%) to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass, postoperative low cardiac output, or intractable ventricular tachyarrhythmias (15%). IABP support was successfully instituted in 280 patients and was unsuccessful in 39 patients ("controls"). These two groups were comparable except for an older mean age and a higher ejection fraction in controls. Operative mortality rates were 45% and 62% for IABP and control groups, respectively (p = 0.077). This difference was most evident in coronary artery bypass patients, in whom the decision to institute IABP counterpulsation was made intraoperatively before attempted discontinuation of cardiopulmonary bypass. Two years postoperatively the actuarial survival rate was 45 +/- 3% for the IABP group and 23 +/- 9% for the control group (p = 0.006). After exclusion of operative deaths, however, these survival rates were 81 +/- 3% and 60 +/- 20%, respectively (p = NS). The average hospital charge incurred by IABP patients was threefold greater than that of uncomplicated cardiac surgical procedures. We conclude that IABP counterpulsation is therapeutic for some cardiac surgical patients, but its benefits cannot be defined easily. The long-term survival rates for patients with advanced disease requiring IABP support perioperatively are poor and warrant continued development of more effective methods of mechanical circulatory assistance and heart replacement.

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