IABP or intra-aortic balloon pump is a device that controls the flow of blood through the aorta. It is a therapeutic device required when the heart is unable to pump enough blood.

IABP is recommended in case of a cardiogenic shock when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the rest of the body. This can occur due to multiple conditions like heart attack or other heart problems like arrhythmia and myocarditis and while performing any heart procedure on a sick heart.

IABP consists of a catheter or a thin, flexible tube with a long balloon (intra-aortic balloon) attached to the tip. The other end of the catheter is attached to a machine with a mechanism for inflating and deflating the balloon as required. IABP becomes smaller when the heart pumps enabling blood to flow to the rest of the body. Similarly, it inflates when the heart relaxes to help increase blood supply to heart muscle.

IABP is a short-term treatment and is needed until the heart condition improves.